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Astronauts lift off for the ISS

Sept. 30, 2009 at 8:19 AM   |   Comments

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HOUSTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Expedition 21 crewmembers were lifted into space early Wednesday aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, Russian cosmonaut Max Suraev and spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte, the creator of Cirque du Soleil, lifted off at 3:14 a.m. EDT, the U.S. space agency said.

Future Expedition 22 Commander Williams, Soyuz Commander Suraev and Laliberte are to dock with the International Space Station at approximately 4:37 a.m. EDT, Friday, NASA said. They will spend nine days as members of a joint crew that includes Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka, NASA's Mike Barratt and Nicole Stott, the European Space Agency's Frank De Winne, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and the Canadian Space Agency's Bob Thirsk.

"On Oct. 10, Padalka will transfer command of the station to De Winne, who will become commander of the next station mission, designated Expedition 21," NASA said, noting Padalka and Barratt have been aboard the orbiting laboratory since March.

Laliberte, a Canadian citizen, is flying to the station under an agreement between the Russian Space Agency and Space Adventures Ltd. He will spend nine days aboard the ISS.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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