Gennady Padalka and Oleg Kononenko have their birthday today (June 21). Last year they both celebrated it on the ISS. Padalka is in fourth place for most amount of time in space at 710 days and 6 hours. He has had a mission on Mir and three missions on the ISS. Kononenko started his career as an engineer before becoming a cosmonaut and making two flights aboard the ISS in 2008 and 2011-2.
The crew of Soyuz TMA-03M had their official welcome back ceremony yesterday. Don Pettit couldn’t make it as he was at a congress meeting in Washington. They laid flowers at Yuri Gagarin’s statue and had the traditional Russian bread and salt welcome. The last picture is Kuipers’ wife getting flowers from Sergei Krikalev, now head of the training centre. I think its a nice gesture that the wives get something after 6 months without their husbands.
Russian cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin, Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov voted in the Russian presidential election today from space. Like the last election, they relayed their choice over the phone, then their ballot was filled out for them and dropped in the box.