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15th expedition to ISS approved, Soyuz TMA-10 launch due April 7

RIA Novosti

22/03/2007 11:40 MISSION CONTROL (Moscow Region), March 22 (RIA Novosti) - The crew of the 15th expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) has been approved and the fifth space tourist has been cleared to fly.

The launch of the Russian Soyuz-TMA 10 spacecraft, carrying the 15th expedition and tourist Charles Simoni, an American of Hungarian origin, to the ISS from the Baikonur space center has been scheduled for April 7, 2007.

Valery Korzun, deputy head of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, said the crew would make two spacewalks, receive and unload several Soyuz cargo spaceships, and may also receive the Jules Verne, Europe's first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).

Korzun added that the European spaceship could arrive later than scheduled, and that the next crew could receive it.

Korzun also praised the performance of Charles Simoni, a co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, who will be the world's fifth tourist to fly into space.

"A routine course for non-professional cosmonauts takes four to eight months," Korzun said.

"Simoni trained longer, and he has mastered the skills of handling Soyuz systems. He has a good education and speaks fluent Russian," the Russian official said.

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