Well, I told you that it might not be my last pre-launch logbook yesterday. I woke up a bit earlier from the planned 5-hour nap and there’s no point in trying to go back to sleep, so here I am, sharing a few departing thought. The doctors will show up in about 40 min to start a series of hygiene operations: before going to space I’ll be as clean as I’ll ever be, outside and inside (if you get the message, I’m not going into any details here).
I’ve picked up my computer and come back to bed. My last time in a bed for many months. Who knows if my body will miss it or will like sleeping in weightlessness. The nap has been weird: part of my brain was dreaming, part of it was awake watching myself dream. But that’s how the past few days have been: part of me was living all the events, meetings, traditions of the past days, and part of me was almost watching a movie unfolding.
Now almost everything is done. My bags are neatly packed and will be taken to their final destination by my family, the backup crew and the ever helpful ESA support personnel. Hopefully, it’s all properly organized: part of the luggage will go into my landing bags, one for the nominal landing site and one for the ballistic site. Part will go home to Cologne, part will eventually find its way to Houston for my return.
Email is set up with out-ouf-office replies: kind of cool to be able to write “Sorry, I’m off the planet for a while”.
Many friends have made it all the way to Baikonur (you guys rock!): we’ve had a chance to spend some time together, albeit in the somewhat awkward condition of having to talk through a glass wall. I could have direct contact with my closer family, who have been medically monitored. All will be waving us goodbye in a few hours as we exit the building to board the buses to the cosmodrome.
In a day like this (well, will there ever be another day like this?) I feel that the most important thing is to say thank you: I’ve had many occasions to thank publicly the organizations that have made this spaceflight possible for me. But now I would like to say a more personal thanks to my family, my friends, my teachers, my colleagues, all the many people who have helped me arrive to this day, by supporting me or by challenging me, by teaching me something or simply by being there for me. I go to space with all of myself, with everything that I am and I have experience, and I certainly take with me every person I have met.
I’d like to share a picture that our backup, Oleg Kononenko, took on Friday as our rocket was raised on the launchpad. I can almost see my seat up there at the top!
Don’t forget to play our #LaunchPadPlaylist along with us tonight around 30-40 min before launch.
All the best, and talk to you from space!