Soyuz Launched To Space Station

Two Russians and an American have blasted off aboard a Soyuz spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station.

The ship blasted off from the Baikonur space launch center in Kazakhstan on November 14, in what appeared to be a successful launch.

Russian Mission control said the Soyuz TMA-22 capsule had successfully gone into Earth orbit.

The mission comes after new questions were raised about Russia’s space program after an unmanned Progress cargo craft that was taking supplies to the space station crashed shortly after takeoff from Baikonur in August.

The catastrophe — blamed on a technical malfunction — was one of Russia’s worst space disasters in decades, and disrupted operations to bring fresh crew members to the space station following the closure of the U.S. space shuttle program earlier this year.

The November 14 launch also follows the failure so far of Russia’s Phobos-Grunt unmanned space probe, which was launched last week, to fire its engines and depart from Earth’s orbit on a planned mission to study Mars.

The crew now on its way to the space station includes Russians Anton Skaplerov and Anatoli Ivanishin, and U.S. astronaut Daniel Burbank. They are due to arrive at the orbiting outpost on November 16.


compiled from agency reports

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