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Manned spaceship Soyuz TMA-05M lifts off from Baikonur

July 15, 2012, 7:00 UTC+3

Yuri Malenchenko, one of the most experienced Russian cosmonauts, is piloting the spaceship

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BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, July 15 (Itar-Tass) — Manned spaceship Soyuz TMA-05M with a new ISS crew onboard took off from Baikonur at 06:40 Moscow time on Sunday.

Yuri Malenchenko, one of the most experienced Russian cosmonauts, is piloting the spaceship. He was a member of three long expeditions to the Mir orbital station, the International Space Station and one shuttle flight.

Malenchenko and two other members of his team, comprising NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and astronaut Akihiko Hoshide from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will join their colleagues working at the ISS on Tuesday morning. Russians Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and American Joseph Acaba have been working in orbit since mid-May.

The ISS-32/33 mission has a busy program. Thirty-three experiments, including news ones, are to be carried out in the Russian segment. Malenchenko and Padalka will make a spacewalk during which they will carry a loading platform for the docking of a multi-functional laboratory module whose launch is set for 2013. The crew is also supposed to receive two Russian and one Japanese cargo ship as well as a U.S. SpX-1 commercial spacecraft.

About 20 military and civilian aircraft and helicopters as well as one search and rescue ship of the Russian Navy will be on guard all along the flight trajectory of Soyuz TMA-05M in case an emergency landing will be necessary, according to Sergei Izvolsky, an adviser to the head of the Russian Aviation Committee. The Cosmonaut Viktor Patsayev museum vessel based in Kaliningrad can be used for communication if necessary, the Mission Control Center located near Moscow reports.

The launch will be broadcast live on the Russia-24 television news channel. The tradition of live broadcasts of space launches on Russian television dates back to September 2006 when the ISS-14 crew and the first space tourist Anousheh Ansari went to outer space.

The Soyuz TMA-05M spaceship is expected to dock with the ISS at 08:52 Moscow time on July 17.

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