Next Stop, Space
L-3: The Soyuz TMA-20 rocket is brought to the launch pad and deposited on the launch fixtures on Dec. 13, 2010. This is the same pad from where almost 50 years ago Yuri Gagarin took off for the first flight in space.
Paolo Nespoli, ESA astronaut, ESA's Anna Tsikhala, and NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman meet Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, the first woman to go into space, at Star City, Russia Dec. 2 2010.
Operation: Save the Space Station
The International Space Station's Expedition 26/27 crew (Kondratyev, Nespoli, Coleman) is seen during the Russian Segment final exams. After 7 hours of "regular" simulation, the station catches fires (simulated by the smoke machine). The crew puts on oxygen respirators and scrambles to find/do the proper actions to find the source of the fire, extinguish it, and decontaminate the atmosphere.
Meet the Soyuz Crew
ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli and his fellow Soyuz TMA-20 crewmates meet the press at Star City following completion of their exam in the Soyuz capsule simulator on Nov. 25, 2010. Left to right Catherine Coleman, Dmitri Kondratyev and Paolo Nespoli. The Soyuz TMA-20 launched to the International Space Station on Dec. 15 2010. Nespoli will spend 6 months in space for his MagISStra mission.
Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency takes a spin on a tilt bed to prepare his body for spaceflight during the ISS Expedition 26/27 missions in 2010/2011.
Home, Sweet Spaceship
The Soyuz: small but reliable. Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of ESA poses with Soyuz crewmates Cady Coleman of NASA (left) and Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratyev on Dec. 11, 2010 before their Dec. 15 launch.
"I use this suit when I go to space (or come back). It's not Armani, but it fits pretty well!" says Italian astronaut Paoli Nespoli of the European Space Agency, flight engineer for the ISS Expedition 26/27 missions in 2010/2011. This image was taken on Dec. 11, 2010.