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BAIKONUR /Kazakhstan/, December 15. /TASS/. Russia’s State Corporation Roscosmos will continue the practice of video broadcasts on the Internet of rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in order to promote the national cosmonautics, Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov told reporters on Tuesday.
The Soyuz-TMA19M manned spacecraft was launched from Baikonur spaceport earlier on Tuesday with a new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS). The crew comprises Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, and the UK astronaut Tim Peake of the European Space Agency (ESA). This is Malenchenko’s sixth mission in space. Kopra has been in space once. Peake is in orbit for the first time. The crew are scheduled to return on June 5, 2016. Malenchenko is to spend in space 174 days. This will take to 815 days the overall duration of his space missions. He will become the world’s number two by this parameter. The current record holder is Russia’s Gennady Padalka with five flights in space, which have lasted 878 days.
The spacecraft is expected to dock to the Rassvet module of the Russian segment of the station at 20:23, Moscow time. The launch from Baikonur was for the first time broadcast via the Luch (Ray) satellite retransmission system. More than 1,000 people have watched the live broadcast.
The Luch system is designed to solve the problems of relaying information of monitoring and control of low-orbit spacecraft, manned space systems, including the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and to serve in controlling launch vehicle flights using an alternative technology. The Luch is a series of geosynchronous Russian relay satellites, used to transmit live TV images, communications and other telemetry from the Soviet/Russian space station Mir, the Russian Orbital Segment of the International Space Station and other orbital spacecraft to the Earth, in a manner similar to that of the US Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.
"One of the main spheres we intend to develop is our functions of mobile communications and data retransmission, including for the broadcast of launches as the most interesting events for the promotion of space exploration," Komarov said. According to the Roscosmos chief, the Gonets company will be engaged in the development of this sphere.