Astronauts set for Friday launch
Baikonur - A Nasa astronaut and her two Russian colleagues have received the go-ahead for a mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
Officials from Russia's federal space agency on Thursday gave the approval required for California native Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko to blast off at 04:04 GMT on Good Friday.
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying the astronauts will lift off at the Russian-leased Baikonur space centre in southern Kazakhstan and fly to the orbiting science lab on Easter Sunday.
The trio is set to leave the space station in mid-September, just as the shuttle sets off on its last mission from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Caldwell Dyson spoke of her sadness at seeing the end of the venerable US spacecraft.