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Russia's Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft docks with space station

RIA Novosti

05:03 10/10/2010

MISSION CONTROL (Korolyov, Moscow Region), October 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's upgraded Soyuz TMA-M manned spacecraft has docked with the International Space Station (ISS), Mission Control reported.

The Soyuz, equipped with new digital computing and telemetric systems, brought to the ISS Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka and U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly.

They will join Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronauts Douglas Wheelock and Shannon Walker, who arrived at the station in June, in a few hours when the pressure hatch from the ship to the ISS is opened.

Soyuz TMA-M is a new model and was designed to replace Soyuz TMA spacecraft currently in use. The new spacecraft has new in-flight measurement systems, new guidance, navigation and control equipment.

The weight of the spacecraft has been reduced by 70 kg (154 lbs) and its construction has been improved to make it easier to manufacture.

The newly arrived Russian cosmonauts, blasted off toward the ISS on Friday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, will have to perform three spacewalks and carry out over 40 scientific experiments during their six-month orbit mission.

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