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Soyuz rocket departs for the international space station in historic final U.S.-Russian flight

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — Since the launch of Sputnik and Yury Gagarin from the desert steppe of Kazakhstan over 60 years ago, the history of spaceflight has been measured in milestones.

The first satellite, the first human in space, the first to the Moon. But the launch of Soyuz MS-17 on Wednesday was a different kind of milestone: the end of an era.

At 8.45 a.m. local time, a Soyuz rocket blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia’s sprawling and remote space launch facility in Kazakhstan, to the International Space Station.

It was the last time NASA paid for an American astronaut to fly with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, on such a flight. Next year, for the first time since the start of the ISS program 20 years ago, Russia will fly all-Russian crews on Soyuz.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov board the
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NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — A trio of space travelers is poised to launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Oct. 14. NASA Television will provide comprehensive coverage of launch and docking.

NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)
NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)

Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1:45 a.m. EDT (10:45 a.m. Kazakhstan time) on a two-orbit, three-hour journey to dock to the station’s Rassvet module for the start of a six-month mission on the orbital outpost.

Launch coverage on NASA Television will begin at 12:45 a.m. It will be the second flight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov.

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