U.S., Russian crew blast off for space station

Reuters News
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Posted: May 14, 2012 11:23 PM

KOROLYOV, Russia (Reuters) - A Soyuz spaceship carrying two Russians and one American astronaut blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday after more than a month's delay over a problem with the hull of the Russian-built capsule.

NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba, veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, who is departing on his maiden space flight, launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-04M rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0301 GMT (11.01 EDT Monday).

The flight was delayed from March 30 to allow Russia's partly state-owned space contractor, RKK Energia, to prepare a new capsule for launch after an accident during pressure tests damaged the Soyuz crew capsule.

Moscow hopes a smooth mission will begin to restore confidence in its once-pioneering space program after a string of launch mishaps last year.

(Reporting by Nastassia Astrasheuskaya; Editing by Robin Paxton and Sandra Maler)