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Expedition 27 Crew Successfully Launches From Russia

April 5, 2011

A NASA astronaut and two rookie cosmonauts launched successfully aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket on Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The crew rode on a Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft nicknamed the Yuri Gagarin in honor of the 50th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first human spaceflight on April 12, 1961.

NASA astronaut Ron Garan and cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev will be joining three other crewmembers already living aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Garan will be making his second trip to space after riding the space shuttle Discovery on the STS-124 mission in 2008.  He will join the station crew as an Expedition 27 and Expedition 28 flight engineer.

“The flight is normal,” mission control told the crew, who waved and gave the thumbs-up sign to a camera relaying images from the capsule back to earth.

The crewmembers left from the same location Gagarin left Earth for his historic mission.

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