All cosmonauts and astronauts that fly with the Soyuz spacecraft plant a tree shortly before their flight. Tim Peake and his crewmates are no exception and planted their trees on 9 December 2015, six days before launch.
Tim commented on pictures posted via Twitter “There’s something very special about planting your own tree – especially in such esteemed company!”
Yuri Gagarin, the first person to orbit Earth, planted his tree near the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur in 1961. Naturally his tree is one of the largest.
Astronauts get to plant a new tree for every flight on a Soyuz. Yuri Malenchenko, Tim’s commander, is a regular space traveller and his first trip to space on a Soyuz was in 1994, this will be his fifth flight. He visited his old tree to tend to it.
Tim Kopra, Tim Peake’s crewmate has been to the International Space Station before but flew on NASA’s Space Shuttles so he had not taken part in this traditional tree planting until now.