Multinational crew blasts off for space station

By REUTERS
December 22, 2011 02:32

 
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A trio of astronauts blasted off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket Wednesday on a mission to bring the International Space Station back up to full manpower after an August cargo launch accident disrupted flights.

The rocket carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Don Pettit and the European Space Agency's Andre Kuipers lifted off at 8:16 a.m. EST under freezing conditions at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a NASA Television broadcast showed.

The all-veteran crew was scheduled to reach the orbital outpost at 10:22 a.m. EST Friday. They will join station commander Dan Burbank and two Russian cosmonauts who arrived last month, bringing the complex back to its full live-aboard staff of six.

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