Russian spaceship 'Soyuz TMA-07M' to start off toward ISS

Russian spaceship Soyuz TMA-07M

(Itar-Tass) Russian spaceship 'Soyuz TMA-07M' is scheduled to lift off tomorrow with three astronauts onboard to the International Space Station (ISS), where the trio will stay for five months.

"If nothing extraordinary happens, the Soyuz TMA-07M spaceship will lift off Wednesday with the Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency and NASA astronaut Tom Mashburn," a Russian state commission member said.

The commission is expected to authorise composition of the crew for Expedition 34/35, which is due to start off to the International Space Station on December 19.

Expedition 34/35 will stay at the ISS for about five months.

At the end of November, an interdepartmental commission assessed the results of the main crew's qualification tests and said the trio was fully ready for performing a space mission.

The backup crew including the Russian space veteran Fyodor Yurchikhin, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Karen Nyberg of NASA also demonstrated perfect skills at the simulation models of the Russian segment of the ISS and the Soyuz TMA-M ship.

After NASA wound up the space shuttle flight program, the Russian Soyuz spaceships remain the only vehicles available for delivering crews to the ISS and back to the Earth.

Soyuz TMA-07M is expected to take off at 16:12 GMT tomorrow and will dock to the ISS Friday.

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