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Zero gravity aboard spaceship was signaled by a plush duckling

March 26, 2014, 10:02 UTC+3 BAIKONUR

The space crew is to stay in orbit for 169 days

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BAIKONUR, March 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian spaceship Soyuz, which was launched from Baikonur spaceport at 01:17, Moscow time (GMT +4), on Wednesday, separated from the carrier rocket nine minutes later, and reached the designated elliptical orbit, a source at the spaceport told Itar-Tass. 

The advent of zero gravity was "signaled" by the crew's lucky charm, a Kvak plush duckling suspended above the instrument console. The toy floated upwards and stood still "under the ceiling" of the spaceship. According to telemetric data, the flight is proceeding in a standard mode. All crewmembers are feeling well.

The Soyuz TMA-12M spaceship is to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) six hours after liftoff. The ISS-39/40 mission crew, consisting of Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, and American astronaut Steve Swanson, are to work in orbit for about five months. When aboard the ISS, the arrivals will join Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, and American astronaut Richard Mastracchio.

The crew is to stay in orbit for 169 days. Within the period, the Russian cosmonauts are to take a spacewalk, receive several resupply spacecraft, and perform a series of experiments.

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