Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Russian spacecraft begins International Space Station mission

A Russian spacecraft carrying an American and two Russians has blasted off successfully from the Kazakh steppes on a mission to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-22 lifted off as scheduled from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It is carrying Nasa astronaut Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin and is set to dock at the station Wednesday.

The launch was postponed for two months following the crash of a Progress cargo ship in August.

The rocket that launched it used the same upper stage as the booster rockets carrying Soyuz ships to orbit, and its failure raised concerns about crew safety.

Today's launch followed a rigorous inspection of all Soyuz rockets and a successful launch of a Progress ship last month.

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