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Space station to watch for Earth disasters

March 8, 2013 at 2:19 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, March 8 (UPI) -- A new crew for the International Space Station will install equipment to monitor Earth's atmosphere and forecast natural disasters, a Russian cosmonaut says.

The crew will lift off from the Baikonur space center March 28 abroad a Soyuz-TMA-08M carrier rocket, ISS-36 Crew Commander Pavel Vinogradov told RIA Novosti Thursday.

The new equipment -- a complex system of sensors and antennas designed to study the plasma/wave processes in the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere -- will be installed on the outer surface of the station's Russian segment during one of the four spacewalks, he said.

It is intended to "eventually benefit mankind by forecasting earthquakes and other natural disasters," Vinogradov said.

A new Russian laboratory module will be docked with the ISS to expand the Russian segment this year, he said, and a research/power module will be added next year.

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