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New space station crew blasts off on Soyuz

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A NASA photo.

HOUSTON (BNS): Russian Soyuz spacecraft resumed flight on Monday blasting off to the International Space Station carrying NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin.

The launch took place at 0414 a.m. GMT on Monday (10:14 a.m. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA said.

Monday's launch is the first manned mission to the ISS after the August 24 disaster when a Soyuz U rocket carrying an unmanned cargo craft had crashed minutes after lift-off.

Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin are scheduled to dock their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft with their new home at 11:33 p.m. on Tuesday.

The astronauts will join Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum of NASA and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov.

Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov launched in June and are scheduled to return to Earth in their Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft at November 21.

Following the end of US space shuttle programme in July this year, the Russian Soyuz vehicles remain the sole means to ferry astronauts and cargo to the orbital station.

Expedition 30 will begin when the current crew undocks, leaving Burbank in command.

NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers are scheduled to launch to the space station on December 21, when they will join Expedition 30 as flight engineers.

The six crew members will carry out dozens of experiments during their time aboard the station.

Expedition 30 is expected to greet the arrival of Dragon, a commercial resupply ship. Dragon will perform a test flight and rendezvous with the station, to be followed by Cygnus, another commercial resupply ship.


NASA  Soyuz  ISS  
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