Two astronauts blast off to their new home--International Space Station

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Into a beautiful sky goes Soyuz to dock with ISS

Friday, April 15, 2005

The 11th crew of the International Space Station rocketed into space Thursday at 8:46 EDT. The Expedition 11 crew rode aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and two of them will remain in their new home-away-from-home for six months.

They were given a heartfelt send-off by Russian Mission Control chief Vladimir Solovyov:

"The people who are doing the job are real romantics who are involved in fascinating work for a miserable salary," he told reporters after the launch, which he called a "remarkable event."

Cosmonauts typically earn $144 to $179 a month.

The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, came as ISS was on a north east heading approximately 230 miles above the southern Atlantic Ocean.

At the controls were Commander Sergei Krikalev, NASA Station Science Officer and Flight Engineer John Phillips, and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori. Vittori will return April 24 with the prior crew, Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, after conducting some experiments.

Soyuz will dock with ISS at 10:19 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Live NASA coverage of the docking and hatch opening will be shown on NASA TV beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday and can be viewed on Internet TV at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv (Free Real Player or Windows Media Player required).

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