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Soyuz rocket set for next space mission on June 16

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The Soyuz rocket on its launch pad. A Roscosmos Photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the Expedition 24 crew is ready to blast off to the International Space Station (ISS) on June 16.

The launch vehicle, carrying the TMA 19 manned spacecraft, was rolled out and successfully installed on its launch pad on Sunday, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

Russian cosmonaut Yury Yurchihin and NASA astronauts Douglas Wheelock and Shannon Walker will blast off on board the spacecraft at 2135 GMT on Wednesday. They are scheduled to dock to the Russian-built Zvezda service module of the ISS at 2225 GMT on Thursday.

The new crew members will join Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko, and US astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, who are presently manning the orbital station.

Last week, astronauts had raised the ISS orbit by 2.5 kilometers to ensure best conditions for the Soyuz TMA-19s docking.

The spacecraft is likely to remain docked to the space station for the remainder of Expedition 24 to serve as an emergency escape vehicle, RIA Novosti said.

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