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Russian spaceships blasts off from Kazakhstan.

Summary: Russian spaceship blasts off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan heading to the International Space Station.

Three astronauts on a Russian spaceship has blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan heading to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-20 is carrying Russia's Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and the European Space Agency's Paolo Nespoli of Italy.

The launch came despite concerns about the re-entry module of the Soyuz craft, which was hastily replaced earlier this month after it was damaged during unloading at Baikonur. The capsule is due to dock at the orbiting space laboratory on Friday.

The flight caps a decade of manned missions to the space station, which began in October 2000.

The Soyuz crew will spend five months at the space station, which has a full schedule for 2011, with the arrival of several cargo craft delivered by the US, Russian, European and Japanese space agencies.

The trio will also be at the space station in April to mark the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's achievement as the first human flight into space.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Dec 16, 2010
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