Getting invited to Houston for ISS training is a major breakthrough for
everybody involved. It shows just how far things have come with NASA. I
have to hand it to these guys - they have turned the situation around
dramatically from where everyone was a year ago.
We arrived in Houston on Saturday afternoon, very jetlagged indeed.
Sixteen hours of flying and a time change of nine hours pretty much
wiped out the crew. The apartments that Star City maintains here are
super, five minutes from Johnson Space Center and very comfy. Yuri and I
are staying together, Roberto has a house here since he was all set to
move here before being assigned to the Soyuz flight.
There are lots of folks here from Russia. Several ISS crews are in
training, together with their doctors, engineers and logistical support.
Our crew and backup are another six. So of course we had to have a
cosmonaut party on Saturday night which involved large amounts of
Russian food and vodka. I think we all arrived home around 4am on
Sunday, and slept late. Sunday, as a result, was very easy going. We did
some shopping - beer, bread and music, everything necessary for bachelor
life on assignment - and passed out early.