Russian manned spacecraft ready to take off

Published: 04/04/2011 05:00



Russian manned spacecraft Soyuz
TMA-21 has been transported to the launch pad and raised to a vertical position,
ready to blast off on April 5, Xinhua correspondents reported Saturday from the

Service towers move towards the Soyuz TMA-21
spacecraft, named after the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, as it is set on its
launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome April 2, 2011. The International Space Station
(ISS) crew of U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan and crew mates Russian cosmonauts
Alexandr Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko is due to travel by Soyuz spacecraft
to the ISS on April 5.  (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The launch is dedicated to the 50th
anniversary of the first flight into space in 1961 carried out by Russian
cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

For hours, journalists and tourists
from all over the world had braved a nasty weather and watched the train and
trucks delivering the rocket to the pad.

The Soyuz TMA-21 rocket will deliver
three crew members to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 5. In a
six-month mission, these cosmonauts will carry out over 40 experiments.

The Soyuz TMA modification is a
replacement of the Soyuz TM as it was equipped with smaller and more efficient
computers and improved displays. The Soyuz TMA-21 will also serve as the return
vehicle of the ISS crew.


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