Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and commander Oleg Novitsky arrived at Baikonur on 1 November. This is their last stop before leaving for space. During their time here they are in “quarantine” with people wearing masks to protect the astronauts from microbes and viruses. In the last two weeks before launch the trio will be busy checking out their Soyuz spacecraft, last briefings and studying as well as preparing physiologically for their spaceflight with many medical checkups. Traditions are also part of the programme with visits to the Baikonur museum, a media day, ceremonial flag raising, planting a tree before flight and watching the film The white sun of the desert. The backup crew consisting of Fyodor Yurchikhin, Paolo Nespoli and Jack Fischer is with them.
Here are some of the highlights of the next two week:
- 2 November: First check of the Soyzu MS-03 spacecraft.
- 3 November: Ceremonial flag raising
- 10 November: Media day
- 11 November: second fit check of the Soyuz spacecraft atop the rocket.
- 14 November: Soyuz rocket and spacecraft rollout