Keeping up a tradition dating back to the dawn of the Space Age, a Russian Soyuz rocket emerged from a hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before sunrise Saturday for rollout to Launch Pad No. 1 at the Central Asia space base, moving into position for liftoff Monday with a U.S.-Russian-Canadian crew heading for the International Space Station.
Veteran Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, flanked by Japanese flight engineer Kimiya Yui and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, boarded a Soyuz landing craft Friday and made a parachute-assisted touchdown in Kazakhstan at 1312 GMT (8:12 a.m. EST) to close out more than 141 days on the International Space Station.
Three new space station residents blasted off Wednesday on a fast-track six-hour pursuit of the orbiting research complex, kicking off five months in space. The U.S.-Russian-Japanese space crew lifted off at 2102 GMT (5:02 p.m. EDT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and docking occurred 0245 GMT (10:45 p.m. EDT).