Russian, US astronauts take off for ISS
Tue, 05 Apr 2011 04:03:14 GMT
Two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut have blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS) for a two-day journey.
Their TMA-21 Soyuz spacecraft was emblazoned with the name and portrait of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, whose historic journey into orbit took place 50 years ago this month.
The Tuesday pre-dawn launch from Russia's cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is the first for Russians Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyayev.
The NASA astronaut accompanying the Russians, Ron Garan, has made one previous trip into space on an American space shuttle mission in 2008.
The trio is due to join three other astronauts already aboard the ISS: Russia's Dmitry Kondratyev, American Catherine Coleman and Italy's Paolo Nespoli.
The newcomers will spend the next six months orbiting the space station and performing 40 experiments. The takeoff was originally planned for last Wednesday, but it was delayed due to a communication glitch.
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin died in a jet crash 43 years ago.