Last week, I returned from my latest trip to Russia and my first to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the most recent Soyuz crew launch to the International Space Station. It was a long-time dream to go to Baikonur and the 2:31am launch was from the same pad used for Sputnik 1 and Yuri Gagarin. The rollout was amazing and I also visited Gagarin’s basic cottage in the middle of the night that was used for his last night on Earth before his flight. Unlike past US space shuttle launches with their hundreds of thousands of people in the area to see them, there were probably only a couple of hundred (NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, Japan for backup crewman, families & some friends of the crew, and some media) for the Soyuz. Much more invoved and expensive getting to Baikonur. — Mark Rigby
Fantastic photos Mark. It looks like you had an awesome trip.