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Russia to launch Soyuz TMA-17 in December winter

The flags of Russia, Japan, the United States and Kazakhstan are seen flying shortly after the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft was raised into vertical position at the launch pad of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Dec. 18, 2009. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

KAZAKHSTAN (BNS): Russia will be launching Soyuz TMA-17 spaceship from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the winter of December 21.

"That would be the first launch of a Soyuz spaceship done on a winter night," a representative of the Energia Aerospace Corporation said on Saturday, as reported by the Russian news agency Itar-Tass.

According to the report, the flag on the spacecraft will be bigger than other countries's crafts taking part in the International Space Station (ISS) project. Its a Russian Navy principle where the host country's flag must be bigger than flags of visiting countries.

The launch will take place on December 21 at 00:52 PM Moscow time (03:25 AM Tuesday December 22, 2009 IST). The crew members are Oleg Kotov (Russia), Timothy Creamer (NASA) and Soichi Noguchi (Japan). Oleg Kotov is the Commander of the ship.

The Soyuz TMA manned spacecraft has been developed as a modification on the basis of a Soyuz TM spacecraft. Soyuz TMA-17 is an integral part of the ISS and will be the 104th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft since 1967.

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