MOSCOW, July 15 (Xinhua) -- A Russian manned spacecraft with a crew of three on board has lifted off and entered its intended orbit, Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said Sunday.
The Soyuz TMA-05M spaceship, blasting off from Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan at 6:40 Moscow time (0240 GMT), departed from the carrier rocket at designated time and successfully reached the intended orbit, Roscosmos said.
The three new crew members for the International Space Station (ISS) comprises Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihito Hoshide.
After the capsule's scheduled docking with the orbital station at 8:52 Moscow time (0452 GMT) on July 17, the trio will join the current ISS crew, which includes Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joe Acaba, who have been in orbit since mid-May.
According to the agency, the new crew will conduct more than 30 scientific missions during their stay in the space. Malenchenko and Padalka will take a space walk to install a loading platform for the future docking of a new laboratory capsule.
After the retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft is the only way for astronauts to reach the ISS at least until 2015.
ALMATY, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Russia's Soyuz spacecraft with a crew of three astronauts blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan on Sunday morning for a four-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS). Full story