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BAIKONUR, May 28, /ITAR-TASS/. The manned spaceship SoyuTMA-13M with an international crew of next long-duration space expedition, the ISS-40/41 mission, will blast off from Baikonur spaceport on Wednesday in a journey to the International Space Station.
A spaceport official told ITAR-TASS, "The carrier rocket Soyuz FG, with the Soyuz TMA-13M atop, is to be launched from Gagarin's Site 1 of Baikonur at 23:57, Moscow time".
The spaceship will be manned by Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev, NASA astronaut Gregory Wiseman, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst. They are to join Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, as well as NASA astronaut Steve Swanson who have been working aboard the ISS since March this year. It is planned that Surayev, Wiseman, and Gerst will work in orbit for 167 days.
The crew will effect the spaceship's docking with the ISS according to a shortened, six-hour, diagram of the flight already at 05:48, Moscow time, on May 29. The spaceship will moor by the smaller research module Rassvet (dawn) (MIM-1) of the orbital station.
One of the advantages of the shortened diagram of flight is that the crew do not have to get adapted to zero gravity in the enclosed space of the Soyuz spaceship where, besides, it is rather cold. Weightless condition begins to tell on the human organism in approximately five hours' time, that is, the crew will be getting adapted to zero gravity aboard the ISS in comfortable conditions.
The first manned flight according to the shortened diagram (when the spaceship makes only four orbital revolutions) was made by the crew of the spaceship Soyuz TMA-08M in March 2013, and by the subsequent manned spaceships 09, 10, and 11. However, during the previous manned space launch in March this year, the Soyuz TMA-12M traveled to the orbital station in accordance with the standard diagram lasting 48 hours.
The arriving crew are to carry out an extensive program of applied research and experiments, video filming and photography on board, do work with cargo transport spacecraft of the Progress series, and accomplish many other tasks.
Along the entire flight path, the safety of the spaceship flight will be ensured by about 20 military aircraft and civil planes and helicopters as well as by a search-and-rescue ship of the Russian Navy against the possibity of an emergency landing of the Soyuz TMA-13M.