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Russian-U.S. Crew Blasts Off For International Space Station

Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson enter a training module before their flight to the Space Station.
Two Russian cosmonauts and a female American astronaut have blasted off from Kazakhstan for a long-term mission on the International Space Station.

The Russian Soyuz craft lifted off on schedule from the Baikonur cosmodrome shortly after 0500 GMT today.

On board are astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Aleksander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko.

The Soyuz is expected to dock at the space station on April 4, with the crew joining the Russian, American, and Japanese crew currently on board.

The new Russian-U.S. crew is expected to remain on the station until September -- shortly before the last scheduled flight of a U.S. space shuttle before the shuttle program is officially ended.

The space shuttle “Discovery" is scheduled to blast off for the space station next week on a mission to deliver tons of research equipment to the orbiting laboratory.

compiled from agency reports