Fragile Oasis

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I suspect my airplane seat mate has not bathed in months + has likely never brushed his teeth!

My latest training trip to the European Astronaut Center near Cologne, Germany is over and I am presently back in Star City Russia. These past two weeks at the European Astronaut Center have been very productive. During the second week of training, I was joined by Scott Kelly on his last trip to Germany before launching to space on October 8th.  As we boarded the airplane from Germany to Russia, Scott sent out the following "Tweet" from his @StationCDRKelly Twitter account: "I suspect my airplane seat mate has not bathed in many months and has likely never brushed his teeth." No, he wasn't talking about me. The picture below should explain it.

Scott and I were paired up for his last training because I am his back-up for the Expedition 25/26 mission to the International Space Station.  The purpose of a back-up is to be ready to launch in case something happens to the prime crew which would prevent them from flying. I will mirror all of Scott’s training and activities between now and his launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will be very interesting to not only participate in all the final training preparations but also all the pre-launch traditions. We will be in Star City for the next 4 weeks and then we will head down to Baikonur and stay until launch.

It will be surreal to be at the place where Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space when he launched on the Vostok spacecraft on April 12th, 1961. It will be even more surreal when I launch from the same place 6-months from now on almost the exact 50th anniversary of human spaceflight. I will be sure to document all the action with pictures and blog posts.  I also promise to catch up on my posts describing the experiments we will be conducting while on board the International Space Station. It really is amazing seeing the potential for a great positive impact on the world that can come from the research being conducted on board.