These fun traditions that astronauts don’t deviate from before going into space

Sixty years after Yuri Gagarin, going into space is an event. And, from Russia to the United States, selected astronauts continue to honor certain traditions, some rituals performed by those who preceded them. Small habits that are sometimes serious are sometimes more secure.

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[EN VIDÉO] Thomas Peskett preparing for Alpha mission departure in 2021
In 2021, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will return to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, for a 6-month mission called “Alpha”.

When you are an astronaut, there are traditions from which you are no different. On the occasion of his first visit to space in 2016, Thomas pasket Greeted those who are metropolitan – understand, Astronaut Russian – adopted for some, some 60 years ago now, when it all began, just before the historic launch Yuri Gagarin.

Sign the doors of the hotel rooms accommodating the crew during the last days before the flight. Toast with hotel staff. To plant a tree In the hotel garden – this tradition applies only to the first flight on a rocket Soyuz. Hoist your country’s flag The clock Soleil Desert white “, A Soviet Western in black and white. Or still respect the “technical break”: a few hundred meters before RocketThe bus carrying the astronauts stops and they will… relieve themselves – or at least pretend – on their right rear wheel!

Various rituals, but still rituals

On American soil, traditions change – they are more inherited Mission Apollo -, but it is unthinkable for astronauts not to respect them. “Astronauts are not generally superstitious, but …”, Says Thomas Peskett on Twitter. Thus, if on the Baikonur side, those who are about to embrace do not discover the rocket until the last moment, at the Kennedy Space Center, they are specifically seen to be vertically watching it.

Other rituals adopted by astronauts over time: playing a game with the person in charge of NASA Not being able to leave your office before winning, have a special meal before boarding, take one last look at the rocket once on the launch pad, put your signature on the wall before entering the capsule. And, innovation with the advent of Reusable launcherMark the rocket thrusters with your initials.

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