Rocket with Russian-U.S. crew, space tourist lifts off for ISS
(RIA Novosti) - A Russian rocket carrying a U.S.-Russian crew, and the world's first female space tourist, lifted off Monday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, a mission control spokesman said, reports Trend.
"The liftoff took place at 8.09 a.m. Moscow time (4.09 a.m. GMT)," the spokesman said. "The Soyuz TMA-9 [capsule] will deliver [space tourist] Anousheh Ansari, a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin, NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin to the International Space Station."
The Russian-U.S. crew will join German astronaut Thomas Reiter when the spacecraft docks with the ISS in two days, and the new crew will replace Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams, who have been on the station since April.
The outgoing crew will take the Iranian-American telecommunications businesswoman, who paid $20 million for the tour, back to Earth in late-September.
The Soyuz TMA-9 lifted off less than a day after the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the ISS and began its journey back to Earth.