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Soyuz launches ISS taxi mission
Posted: Wed, Oct 30, 2002, 7:55 AM ET (1255 GMT)
Soyuz launch (Energia file photo) A Soyuz rocket successfully launched a taxi mission to the International Space Station late Tuesday night. The Soyuz lifted off from Baikonur at 10:11 pm EST Tuesday (0311 GMT Wednesday) and placed the Soyuz TMA-1 spacecraft into orbit ten minutes later. The Soyuz spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the ISS Friday at 12:00 am EST (0500 GMT). The three-man taxi crew consists of Russian cosmonauts Sergei Zaletin and Yuri Lonchakov and Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne. The three will spend eight days on the station conducting a suite of experiments before returning to Earth using the old Soyuz TM-34 spacecraft currently attached to the station. The launch was the first for the Soyuz rocket since a launch failure two weeks ago; the Soyuz TMA-1 launch was delayed two days to give engineers time to check the booster and confirm that the contamination problem suspected in the launch failure did not also affect this booster. Security at the Baikonur launch site was heightened in the wake of recent events in Moscow.
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