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Tree Planting Tradition of the Cosmonauts Continues with Space Station Mission

article-imageSoyuz Tree Planting Ceremony on May 22, 2013 (photograph by Victor Zelentsov/NASA)

Yesterday in preparation for their May 29 departure for the International Space Station, the crew members of Soyuz TMA-09M each planted saplings as part of a tradition of cosmonauts going back to the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.

These plantings were in a grove located on the Avenue of the Cosmonauts behind the Cosmonaut Hotel in Kazakhstan, which was built for space travelers who were departing the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Two long rows of trees are all marked with the name and year of the crew member who planted them, from Gagarin’s tree which looms the tallest to that of the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova. While it started out as a ceremony for Soviet cosmonauts, now that missions for the International Space Station depart from the Cosmodrome, NASA astronauts and space travelers from around the world plant trees. 

The ceremony always takes place very shortly before take off, leaving a simple, living tribute in the earth to those intrepid voyagers who are about to shoot beyond our atmosphere. Below are more images from this cosmonaut grove:

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Jogging on the Avenue of the Cosmonauts (via European Space Agency)

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Tree planted by Yuri Gagarin (via nox-am-ruit/Flickr)

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NASA astronaut Joe Acaba plants a tree on May 10, 2012 with Expedition 31/32 (photograph by Victor Zelentsov/NASA

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Soyuz TMA-15 crew plants a tree on May 25, 2009 (via European Space Agency)

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Soyuz TMA-15 crew plants a tree on May 25, 2009 (via European Space Agency)

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The Soyuz TMA-15 crew with one of their planted trees on May 25, 2009 (via European Space Agency)

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Expedition 18 plants a tree in 2008 (via NASA)

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NASA astronaut Kevin Ford planting a tree on October 17, 2012 (photograph by Sergei Remezov)

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Expedition 32/33 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams plants a tree on July 9, 2012 (photograph by Victor Zelentsov/NASA)

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Expedition 19 astornaut Michael Barratt plants a tree on March 21, 2009 (via NASA)

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Expedition 27 Crew on March 29, 2011 (photograph by Victor Zelentsov/NASA)

 

COSMONAUT GROVE, Karaganda, Kazakhstan