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Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Olympic torch launches into orbit

November 07, 2013, 9:10 UTC+3
The torch will be delivered to the ISS by international crew
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ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Pochuev

ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Pochuev

MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft that has been launched from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan at 08:14 MSK on Thursday has entered the desired orbit, sources in the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass.

“At 08:23 MSK the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft separated from the carrier rocket and entered the desired orbit,” Roskosmos said.

The crew of the next long-term Expedition 38/39 to the International Space Station (ISS) is on board: Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio and astronaut of the Japanese Space Agency JAXA Koichi Wakata.

“The three crewmembers feel well,” Roskosmos specified. They are to work on the orbiting outpost for more than four months.

In six hours, the cosmonauts will joint on the ISS Russians Oleg Kotov, Sergei Ryazansky, Fyodor Yurchikhin, Americans Michael Hopkins and Karen Nyberg, as well as Italian Luca Parmitano. Thus, the situation of 2009 where nine cosmonauts at a time will be on board the station and three Soyuz spaceships docked to it will recur.

The Sochi 2013 Olympic torch - one of the main symbols of the winter Olympics, will be delivered to the ISS by the crew. The Olympic flame is included in the emblem of the crew, and Olympic symbols are depicted on the rocket and the spacecraft.

Docking of the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft with the ISS is planned for 14:00 MSK. In the ISS operation history it will be the fourth docking of a manned spacecraft after a short cut to the station. The first manned launch under this scheme (the spacecraft makes only four orbits round the Earth) was drilled this March.

More than 20 military and civilian planes and helicopters, as well as a ship of the search and recovery service of the Russian Navy have been on the alert along the Soyuz TMA-11M ship’s flight trajectory in case of its emergency landing.

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