Soyuz Space Mission to the International Space Station   Leave a comment

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying a Russian, an American and a Dutchman to the International Space Station blasted off flawlessly from Russia’s launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan on December 21, 2011.

Mission commander Oleg Kononenko and his colleagues, American Don Pettit and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers are to dock with the space station on Friday.

The blastoff took place without a hitch and the spacecraft reached Earth orbit about nine minutes later. Video from inside the craft showed the three crew members gripping each others’ hands in celebration as the final stage of the booster rocket separated.

The three aboard the Russian spacecraft will join three others already on the ISS, NASA’s Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin. The six are to work together on the station until March 2012.

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