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Three astronauts blast off in upgraded Soyuz


07-07-2016 19:37 BJT

Three astronauts blasted off in an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome on Thursday morning, heading towards the International Space Station.

Astronauts from the United States, Japan and Russia set off on a four-month mission at space station at 01:36 GMT. The new Soyuz series has upgraded boosters, an improved navigation system, strengthened shielding from debris and more cells on the craft's solar panels.

The launch was delayed by two weeks, as Russian space officials carried out extra software tests on the modified vehicle.

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