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US and Russians blast off together to the International Space Station

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US and Russians blast off together to the International Space Station

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They are the best of friends who will work together in close proximity hand in hand.

Co-operation between the US and Russia is alive and well – in space if not on earth.

Expedition 39/40 with Astronaut Flight Engineer Steven Swanson, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skortsov and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev blasted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

The three crew will eventually rendezvous with the International Space Station to boost the lab’s crew there back to six.

The separation of Soyuz from its booster went as planned.

However a later problem with a thruster caused the threesome to skip scheduled steering maneuvers delaying their arrival at the space station until Thursday.