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Russian spacecraft blasts off

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Russia launches spacecraft to ISS
  • Soyuz TMA-18 launches from Kazakhstan on mission to the International Space Station
  • Soyuz, carrying NASA astronaut and Russian cosmonauts to dock with station in two days
  • NASA's space shuttle Discovery to follow in 3 days, also bound for the space station
  • Kazakhstan
  • Russia
  • Manned Space Flight
  • NASA

(CNN) -- A Russian spacecraft blasted off from a facility in Kazakhstan Friday on a mission to the International Space Station.

The launch of the Soyuz TMA-18 comes three days before the launch of NASA's space shuttle Discovery, which is also bound for the space station.

The Soyuz, carrying NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, is scheduled to dock with the space station in two days, NASA said.

Discovery will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, joining the Soyuz crew at the space station on Wednesday, NASA said.

Discovery will bring with it more equipment for the space station, while the crew is scheduled to make three spacewalks.

The space station, which orbits the Earth at a height of some 250 miles, is due to be finished next year and is about 90 percent complete.