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Three-person crew docks with space station

Five hours and 48 minutes after a sky-lighting launch from Kazakhstan, a Russian Soyuz ferry craft carrying a crew of three representing Russia, the United States and Italy, glided to a smooth docking at the International Space Station late Sunday, boosting the lab's crew back to six and setting the stage for a busy winter of research and spacewalk assembly work.

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  • The Soyuz TMA-15M crew at the Baikonur Cosmodrome (left to right): NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. Credit: NASA
    Soyuz TMA-15M commander Anton Shkaplerov, flanked on the left by flight engineer Samantha Cristoforetti and on the right by NASA astronaut Terry Virts, are scheduled for liftoff from complex 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday.
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    Riding a specialized railroad car before dawn Friday, a Soyuz rocket rolled out of a cavernous assembly building and arrived at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for liftoff Sunday with American, Russian and Italian crew members heading for the International Space Station.
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    Inside the final assembly building at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft is mated to the core of the Soyuz booster rocket for Sunday's Expedition 42 launch to the International Space Station.
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    Several weeks ahead of a planned liftoff in late December, the biggest new Russian rocket to fly in a generation has rolled to its launch pad at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia for preflight testing.