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Soyuz crew ready for launch to ISS on Friday

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The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft is raised into position shortly after it was rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. NASA photo

BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN (BNS): Russia's Federal Space Agency on Thursday gave final approval to the crew for the next expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), a media report said.

The crew is all set to take off from Baikonur on a journey to the ISS aboard a spaceship on Friday morning for a six-month orbital mission. The Soyuz-FG rocket with Soyuz TMA-18 piloted spacecraft is scheduled to take off at 08:04 Moscow time (04:04 GMT).

While Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko and U S astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson will lift off, the others - Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutayev, Andrei Borisenko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly - will remain on the ground.

Meanwhile, The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft due to take the crew to the space station has been moved to a launch pad at Kazakhstan's Baikonur space center.

The spacecraft will dock with the ISS on Sunday, where the crew will join Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, U.S. astronaut Timothy Creamer, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

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