Max Surayev is Back

The cosmonauts’ best blogger returns to the International Space Station.

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Surayev's caption: “Completely ready to fly into space”

Surayev’s Soyuz crewmates this time, rookies Reid Wiseman of NASA and Alex Gerst, a German ESA astronaut, seem pretty social media-savvy as well. (Wiseman’s Vine postings include everything from astronaut snow angels to a Russian sleigh ride).

Here’s a sampling of Surayev’s photos from his last tour on the station. This could be a fun six months for space-watchers.

Clowning with space tourist (and Cirque de Soleil founder) Guy Laliberté
Crammed into a cargo container with fellow cosmonaut Roman Romanenko.
During Surayev’s first ISS tour, Moscow mission control sent up this spoof of Vasily Perov’s 1871 painting “Hunters at Rest,” with Romanenko, Surayev and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov as substitutes.
Romanenko goofing around with the space-grown crops.
Juggling newly delivered fresh fruit, following the lead of “space clown” Laliberté.
By tradition, cosmonauts watch the film “White Sun of the Desert” before a launch. This is Surayev’s tribute.
For Halloween in 2009, the cosmonauts substituted an orange for a pumpkin.
Surayev (bottom left) bonding with his ISS crewmates in November 2009.
Surayev in the space station Cupola window in 2010.

Think of Max Surayev as the Russian answer to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, whose big social media moment came last year when he covered Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from orbit.

The 42-year-old Surayev is getting ready to launch tomorrow on his second mission to the International Space Station, where he’ll take over as commander in September. Let’s hope the cosmonaut hasn’t changed in the four years since he posted some of the most entertaining diary entries and photos ever logged from orbit.

If his Twitter feed is any indication, he still has the same playful sense of humor and photographic eye he did in 2009, when he and fellow rookie Roman Romanenko flew on Expedition 20, along with space tourist Guy Laliberté.

Wiseman, Surayev, and Gerst
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