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US, Russian, Japanese crew blasts off for International Space Station

The International Space Station crew members Norishige Kanai of Japan, center, Anton Shkaplerov of Russia, bottom, and Scott Tingle of the US board the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft for its launch at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on December 17.
Dec 17 : A trio of US and Japanese astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut blasted off from Kazakhstan on Sunday for a two-day trip to the International Space Station, a NASA TV broadcast showed.
Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and flight engineers Norishige Kanai of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Scott Tingle of NASA lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:21pm local time.
The crew will gradually approach the station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, for two days before docking.
Shkaplerov, Kanai and Tingle will join Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, who have been aboard the orbital outpost since September.
Onboard cameras showed crew members making thumbs-up gestures after the blast-off. Also visible was a stuffed dog toy chosen by Shkaplerov’s daughter to be the spacecraft’s zero-gravity indicator.
Soyuz was safely in orbit about 10 minutes after the launch.

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