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WASHINGTON, July 23. /TASS/. The flight of Russia’s Soyuz spaceship to the International Space Station (ISS) is proceeding nominally, NASA said on Thursday.
"The flight of the Expedition 44 crew to the International Space Station is proceeding nominally and the crew is in excellent condition," the agency said.
After certain confusion over reports about the condition of solar batteries, NASA, after Roscosmos, confirmed its initial information about one solar battery failure, which it later refuted as premature. "The port solar array on the vehicle did not deploy as planned. The starboard solar array did deploy along with all navigational antennas, is functioning normally, and is fully providing power to the spacecraft," NASA said.
The Soyuz-FG started off from the Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan at 00:03 Moscow Standard Time on Thursday (21:03 GMT on Wednesday).
Traveling to the ISS for a six-months-long mission are the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, the Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren.
For Kononenko, 51, this is a third orbital mission in his career of a space researcher. He has already spent 391 days in space and has done three spacewalks.
Yui, 45, and Lindgren, 42, have begun their first space mission.
Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Korniyenko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly are awaiting them at the station.
Soyuz TMA-17M is due to reach the station in six hours after the launch. It is expected to dock to the station's Rassvet service module at 02:46 GMT.
The initial liftoff of Expedition 44/45 crew from Baikonur was scheduled for May 26 but Roscosmos had to reconsider the date in the wake of a defaulted launch of the Progress M-27M cargo ship, which overshot the designated orbit and was lost eventually.