Chris Cassidy: it was a different feel walking out to the bus to go to the launch pad and
nobody was there. It was like walking into an empty parking lot.
Cassidy: I left America February 28th.
It was right around that timeframe when the
travel restrictions were starting to tighten a little bit.
Cassidy: All of the pre-flight activities work-wise happened as normal, but we would
have entered formal quarantine right at the end of March.
However, we entered basically quarantine the beginning of March, about a couple of weeks
early, and really didn't leave our training location,
which is about 30 miles outside of Moscow.
And then we fly from Moscow to Baikonur, Kazakhstan, where the launch takes place, and there it
was much, much tighter control.
We really didn't see anybody those last 10 to 12 days.
Cassidy: Once I got onto that bus and it's about a 40-minute ride out to the launchpad
from where you get your suit on in Kazakhstan, it was just all business,
and we were focused on the launch.
Cassidy: Drew had been here for about nine months, and Jessica had finished finishing
up her six month tour.
And they, of course, they could see the news, and they knew what was going on, but nonetheless,
it was interesting for me to share my experiences prelaunch with them,
and they were full of questions.
The truly fascinating thing for them was to be returning from space into the COVID environment.
There had to be special ground vehicles coordinated to bring them to an airport that was different
from where we normally go because of travel restrictions and visas.
They did make it back to Houston within about a day or so of landing.
Then they were in quarantine, and it was not the return to Earth that they were anticipating.
Cassidy: What's the one thing I'm most looking forward to when I get back to Earth?
Homemade chocolate chip cookies, fresh-baked out of the oven.