RUSSIAN ISS COSMONAUT GENNADY PADALKA WILL RECEIVE SO-FAR CONCEALED BIRTHDAY PRESENT ON BOARD

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MOSCOW, June 20 - RIA Novosti's Alexander Kovalyov. On Monday Russian ISS cosmonaut Gennady Padalka will celebrate his 46th birthday onboard the space station to open an envelope with a so-far concealed present sent from the Earth.

Chief of the Crew Psychological Support Team Olga Kozarenko told RIA Novosti that a Progress space truck had delivered to the station a large envelope to be opened on June 21.

When asked jokingly about dollars in the envelope (the Russian colloquial definition for wages paid in cash to avoid taxes - Ed.), she smiled and protested: "We do not know what they look like, always get in rubles what little we are paid." Kozarenko also declined to tell reporters what was inside because, she said, it would be unfair to the cosmonaut. "I can only say that what is inside is very beautiful and picturesque," she added.

Kozarenko added that Padalka's friends and colleagues would come to the Space Flight Control Center to congratulate him. Previously it had been planned to arrange a special videoconference with the space station, Kozarenko said, but the crew will have a lot of work to do on Monday about a scheduled open space mission. Therefore, the videoconference for Padalka's family will be postponed until Saturday, June 26, when the U.S. provides its communication links.

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