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Soyuz spaceship crew ready for blastoff to space station

RIA Novosti


BAIKONUR, December 20 (RIA Novosti) - The crew of a Russian Soyuz spaceship is ready for early Monday's blastoff to the International Space Station (ISS), the spaceship commander said Sunday.

"The crew of the Soyuz TMA-17 spaceship is ready for the spaceflight," Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov told Anatoly Perminov, the head of Russia's Federal Space Agency.

Perminov wished the crew of three a successful flight and return.

The crew also comprises NASA's Timothy Creamer and Japan's Soichi Noguchi. On December 23, they will join Russia's Maxim Surayev and NASA's Jeffrey Williams who have been on the ISS since early October.

Noguchi is Japan's first astronaut to make his flight to the ISS on board a Russian Soyuz spaceship.

The crew whose blastoff will take place from Russia's Baikonur space center in southern Kazakhstan will spend six months on the orbit.

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