CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.,  - Leaving politics behind, a veteran Russian cosmonaut and a pair of rookie astronauts from the United States and Germany blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday for a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.



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The crew's Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off at 3:57 p.m. EDT (1957 GMT) and headed into orbit, a live broadcast on NASA Television showed.


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