Soyuz crew heading for space station

May 15, 2012 at 2:39 PM
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BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, May 15 (UPI) -- The latest crew members for the International Space Station are on their way after a launch in Kazakhstan, NASA said Tuesday.

NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 9:01 a.m., Kazakhstan time (11:01 p.m. EDT Monday), the space agency reported.

Ten minutes after launch the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft was in orbit with its antennas and solar arrays deployed.

The Soyuz capsule will dock to a research module of the station Thursday, bringing the ISS Expedition 31 crew to its full six-member complement.

The new crew will join current station residents Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers to begin a four-month stay on the orbiting space laboratory.

Kononenko, Pettit and Kuipers, who have been on the ISS since Dec. 23, will return to Earth July 1, marking the start of Expedition 32 under the command of Padalka.

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