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Soyuz craft readied for space station mission


The International Space Station.

BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN (AP): A Russian-made Soyuz rocket has been erected into place ahead of the start of a mission to take a three-man crew to the International Space Station.

The craft was taken early Sunday to Baikonur cosmodrome launch pad 31, which is being used for a manned flight for the first time since 1984. The pad that is normally used, from which Yury Gagarin began his landmark space mission, is undergoing modernisation.

NASA's Kevin Ford and Russian astronauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin will blast off Tuesday from the Russian-leased facility in southern Kazakhstan and will spend around six months on the orbiting laboratory.

They will join US astronaut Sunita Williams, Russia's Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide of Japan's JAXA agency to take the space station's crew to six.

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Soyuz  Russia  ISS   Baikonur  

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