Crew prepares for Soyuz launch

2009-05-27 12:25

Baikonur - Three astronauts have boarded a Soyuz capsule and are preparing to head for the international space station on a milestone mission to expand its crew.

The Soyuz craft will spend two days soaring through space before hooking up with the orbiting station.

Liftoff is scheduled for 16:34 local time (1034 GMT; 0634 EDT) on Wednesday from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome.

Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and Belgium's Frank De Winne will join the three crew members already on board the space station.

They stood in the scorching heat before boarding the capsule to bid farewell to dozens of family members and well-wishers.

It'll be the first time the station has had six permanent members.