Russian Soyuz blasts off for ISS

Thursday, 28 May 2009, 02:28 Hrs
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Moscow: A Russian Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft carrying three astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) was launched Wednesday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, the mission control said.

"The craft is due to dock with the ISS May 29," a spokesperson said.

The 20th Expedition to the ISS comprises flight engineer Frank De Winne from the European Space Agency, Robert Thirsk from the Canadian Space Agency and Russia's Roman Romanenko.

They will join the current (Expedition 19) crew - comprising Russian Commander Gennady Padalka, US Flight Engineer Michael Barratt and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata - making it the largest-ever crew on the ISS.

During the upcoming 180-day mission, the six-member crew will receive and unload three Russian Progress craft and a Japanese HTV-1 space freighter, conduct two spacewalks and carry out a series of scientific experiments.
Source: IANS
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