Thursday 7 July 2016

Three astronauts blast off for ISS in upgraded Soyuz craft

BAIKONUR: Three astronauts blasted off Thursday from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome towards the International Space Station in an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft. First-time astronauts Kathleen Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japanese space agency set off for a four-month mission at the ISS with two-time Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin at 0136 GMT."And lift-off!" said a commentator on NASA TV, which broadcast footage of the launch in Kazakhstan.The trio's launch was delayed by over two weeks as Russian space officials carried out further software tests on the modified vehicle Features of the new Soyuz series include upgraded boosters, an improved navigation system, strengthened shielding from debris and more cells on the craft's solar panels.

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