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Soyuz spacecraft to deliver New Year gifts to ISS

RIA Novosti

15:44 26/11/2010

STAR CITY, November 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft will bring New Year presents to the International Space Station (ISS), commander Dmitry Kondratyev said on Friday.

The Soyuz TMA-20, carrying cosmonaut Kondratyev, the U.S. and Italian flight engineers, Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli, is scheduled to blast off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan on December 15. The three astronauts will be onboard the ISS for 152 days.

"We are taking New Year presents along, which our families have prepared for us," Kondratyev told RIA Novosti. "We don't know what's in them, it will be a surprise."

There will be no Christmas tree, however, Kondratyev said.

The three astronauts will join Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly and flight engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka, who have been aboard the station since early October.

Soyuz TMA-19, which took Expedition 25's Douglas Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin back to Earth, landed in Kazakhstan earlier on Friday.

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