Friday, October 5, 2007

Launch – 7 days and counting

Moscow day 2

 Finally got to sleep around 1AM this morning and we have an 8:30 AM pickup to go visit Star City, where the cosmonauts train for spaceflight. It is a two hour drive from our hotel; we got to the guard gate of Star City and waited for our tour guide Dimitri. The trip was worthwhile, we saw the cosmonaut cultural center, and went to Yuri Gagarin’s office where all cosmonauts visit before going to Baikonur for launch- it is thought to be a lucky place, so we touched his desk for good fortune. We then went down the “walk of heroes” to the training center. There we saw the MIR space station model, the Soyuz capsule and the statue of Gagarin with the stain glass window behind.

We saw the underwater training facility- a circular pool that is 16 meters deep and contains a full size ISS trainer- this is where the cosmonauts train for extra vehicular activity (EVA). We also saw the largest (18m) man rated centrifuge in the world - very impressive.

Then Chai-Fei and Tammy return to the IBMP laboratory to visit the cells and feed them. We also had some hardware o-rings to autoclave. All is well in the lab.