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International Astronauts Arrive At Space Station

December 19, 2010

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said a shuttle carrying Russian, Italian and American astronauts successfully docked with the International Space Station on Friday, after Russian space control had lost contact with it for several hours on Thursday.

The Soyuz TMA-20 docked two days after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on the Kazakh steppe. The shuttle carried NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and the European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli of Italy.

“The approach and the docking of the ship with the station was carried out under the control of the space command center,” according to a statement found on the Roscosmos website www.roscosmos.ru.

The Russian news agency Interfax reported late Thursday that Russia’s space command center had lost contact with the spaceship, but hours later information from the craft had starting flowing again.

The Soyuz flight is one of the last before NASA retires its space shuttle fleet, leaving astronauts completely reliant on the Russian spacecrafts for missions to the International Space Station.

Image Caption: TMA-20 mission patch (Credit: Roscosmos)

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