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BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, November 14 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Soyuz spacecraft with the Russian-American ISS 29/30 expedition crew aboard has been launched from Baikonur this Monday.
The Soyuz TMA-22 craft, which blasted off at 08:14 Moscow time, nine minutes after the liftoff, reached the planned orbit and began its independent two-day flight to the ISS. All the spacecraft systems are working as normal. The crew feel well, a Baikonur source told Itar-Tass.
The beginning of the independent flight was "signaled" by a talisman, a small bird (a character of the popular computer game Angry Birds) hanging before the seat of Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov. It moved to the "ceiling" and stopped there.
The Soyuz is carrying the crew of the next, 29/30, ISS expedition -- Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank, who will work is orbit for a little more than four months. Aboard the station, they will join the ISS crew -- Russian Sergei Volkov, NASA astronaut Michael Fossum and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, who have been working in orbit since early June.