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03:10 GMT +3 hours23 December 2014
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New international space station members blast off

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A Soyuz TMA-22 spaceship departed on Monday for the international space station (ISS) from a launch pad in Kazakhstan.

 

A Soyuz TMA-22 spaceship departed on Monday for the international space station (ISS) from a launch pad in Kazakhstan.

Three new members of the ISS, Russians Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank, lifted off from the Baikonur space centre as scheduled. The expedition call sign is Astraios, the Titan god of the stars and planets, and the art of astrology.

The crew should dock with the ISS on November 16 at 9.33 a.m. Moscow time (05:33 GMT).

The new crew will replace expedition 28 with Russian flight engineer Sergei Volkov, NASA astronaut Mike Fossum and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, who will return to Earth on November 22.

The previous flights scheduled for September 5 and 22 were postponed due to technical malfunctions.

After the successful docking, the astronauts plan to celebrate the ISS’s 75,000th orbit around Earth, Shkaplerov said at a news conference before liftoff.

“We are planning to have tea with some sweets that we will get from Earth, maybe we will watch a movie and discuss it later,” he said.

The crew members will hold 37 experiments. In particular, they will put the Chibis (Pewit) microsatellite, which studies gamma-radiation generated by lightnings in the atmosphere, into a pod and place it in the “Progress-M” cargo spaceship, which will deliver the satellite to its orbit. The microsatellite weighs about 40 kg with 12 kg of scientific equipment.