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Soyuz launches, docks with ISS
Posted: Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 7:37 AM ET (1237 GMT)
Soyuz TMA-11M on approach to ISS (NASA) A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new International Space Station crewmembers lifted off early Thursday and docked with the ISS six hours later. A Soyuz rocket carrying the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:14 pm EST Wednesday (0414 GMT, 10:14 am local time Thursday), placing the spacecraft into orbit less than ten minutes later. The Soyuz spacecraft, utilizing the "fast track" approach to the station, docked with the ISS's Rassvet module at 5:27 am EST (1027 GMT) Thursday, a little more than six hours after launch. The Soyuz brought to the station Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, American astronaut Rick Mastracchio, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. The three will join the six current ISS crewmembers, marking the first time in four years that nine people have been on the ISS at the same time without a shuttle present. Three current ISS crewmembers, Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg, and Luca Parmitano, will leave the station on Sunday. The new Soyuz also brought to the station a torch for the 2014 Winter Olympics; Russian cosmonauts will take the torch outside the station on an EVA on Saturday before returning it to Earth on the departing Soyuz.
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