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UPDATED: Russian, US astronauts launch to International Space Station

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A trio of space travelers has launched successfully to the International Space Station, for the first time using a fast-track maneuver to reach the orbiting outpost in just three hours.

NASA’s Kate Rubins and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Russia-leased Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the station.

A still image taken from a handout video made available on the official website of the Russian State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS shows the Russian Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-17 manned spacecraft lifting off from the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, 14 October 2020. EPA-EFE/ROSCOSMOS

For the first time, they are trying a two-orbit, three-hour approach to the orbiting outpost. Previously it took twice as long for the crews to reach the station.

The trio will join the station’s NASA commander, Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April and are scheduled to return to Earth a week later.

A still image taken from a handout video made available on the official website of the Russian State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS shows the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft docking with the International Space Station (ISS) on 14 October 2020. EFE/ROSCOSMOS HANDOUT

Read more via AP

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