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Three-man crew off to space station

A Russian rocket carrying a three-man crew to the International Space Station has blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz booster rocket lifted off as scheduled at 1.57am Thursday local time (1957GMT Wednesday) and soared into the darkness over the Central Asian steppe.

The crew - Nasa's Reid Wiseman, Russian cosmonaut Max Surayev and German Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency - are set to dock at the station less than six hours later.

They are scheduled to stay in orbit for six months.

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