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Three astronauts blast off in upgraded Soyuz spacecraft

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 to the 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.

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