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Soyuz rocket with Gagarin image takes off with three men on board

Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut took off this Friday for the International Space Station (ISS) for a mission honoring the 60th anniversary of sending the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin. Their Soyuz rocket tore from Earth’s gravity as expected at 7.42 a.m. GMT from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. For the occasion, the launcher was decorated with the white and blue profile of their illustrious predecessor whose legendary flight dates back to April 12, 1961.

“We will work hard! “

“All the parameters are in the standard”, noted at regular intervals the control center which qualifies the flight as “normal”. About nine minutes after takeoff, the separation of the Soyuz spacecraft, baptized for the occasion by the name of Gagarin, took place without incident at an altitude of about 200 km.

Oleg Novitsky and Piotr Doubrov, of the Russian agency Roscosmos, and Mark Vande Hei, of NASA, are leaving for a six-month stay on the ISS. The capsule should dock shortly after 11 a.m. GMT.

During the traditional pre-departure press conference, they naturally confirmed that they would celebrate, on April 12, the feat of their illustrious predecessor. “We will celebrate it together,” noted Piotr Doubrov, 43, for whom this will be the first space mission. “And we will work hard! “

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