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New Space Station Crew in Orbit

RIA Novosti

10:25 15/07/2012

BAIKONUR, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three new crewmembers, launched from the Baikonur Space Center to the International Space Station (ISS), departed successfully from the carrier rocket and reached intermediate orbit, Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos reported on Sunday.

“The spacecraft separated from the third stage of the carrier rocket in a normal regime and at the designated time,” the agency said.

Russia's Soyuz-FG rocket with Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft carrying the new crew blasted off at 6.40 a.m. Moscow time (02:40 GMT) on Sunday.

The new crew comprises Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japan’s Space Agency (JASA) astronaut Akihito Hoshide.

The Soyuz TMA is due to dock with the ISS's Zvezda service module at 08.52 Moscow time (04:52 GMT) on Tuesday.

The fresh crew will join the current ISS residents - Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joe Acaba, who have been in orbit since mid-May.

The new crew members are expected to conduct over 30 scientific missions during their stay on board the ISS.

For Malenchenko, it is his fifth long-duration spaceflight. Williams and Hoshide visited the ISS once each, traveling on board a U.S. space shuttle. It is their first flight experience with the Soyuz spacecraft.

Russian Soyuz-family spacecraft remain the only means of transportation for crew members to and from the orbital station until at least 2015.

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