Soyuz crew ready for space station mission

2010-12-15 14:20
Baikonur - A three-person crew is undergoing final preparations to blast off for a five-month stint at the International Space Station.

Russia's Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and the European Space Agency's Paolo Nespoli of Italy have received the final official clearance for the launch from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan onboard the Russian-made Soyuz TMA-20 at 19:09 GMT on Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Kondratyev shrugged off last-minute worries on Tuesday about the re-entry module, which was replaced earlier this month after it was damaged during unloading.

Kondratyev said all checks needed on the integrity of the Russian-made Soyuz craft have been successfully completed.

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