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Soyuz spacecraft with Expedition 21 crew blasts off for ISS

The Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft launches from Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. Image credit: NASA TV

BAIKONUR (BNS): Russia's Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft with Expedition-21 crew, blasted off from Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

Carrying three new crewmembers, the spacecraft set on its journey for the International Space Station at 11:14 am Moscow time (07:14 GMT), Russia's Mission Control said.

Less than 10 minutes after launch, the spacecraft reached orbit, and its antennas and solar arrays were deployed shortly afterward, NASA said.

The spacecraft will dock with the space station on Friday.

The new crewmembers onboard the Soyuz include US astronaut Jeffrey Williams, Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev, and space tourist Guy Laliberte of Canada.

Williams and Surayev will be on a six-month sojourn at the ISS while Laliberte would return to earth next month along with Russia's Gennady Padalka and US' Michael Barratt who have been in the space station since March.

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