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Soyuz Gagarin is ready to lift off for the International Space Station

Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

The Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, named after the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, is transported to its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome on April 2, 2011. The International Space Station crew of U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan and crew mates Russian cosmonauts Alexandr Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko is scheduled to launch on April 5.

Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

The Soyuz is transported to its launch pad by train.

Reported by Space.com
A veteran NASA astronaut and two rookie cosmonauts are poised to begin their journey into space Monday by launching into orbit aboard a Russian spaceship named Gagarin.

The spaceflyers were due to liftoff from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome at 6:18 p.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, nicknamed the Yuri Gagarin in honor of the 50th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first human spaceflight on April 12, 1961. 

Flying on the Soyuz Gagarin will be NASA astronaut Ron Garan and cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev, who are beginning a planned six-month mission to the International Space Station. They will join three other crew members already living aboard the orbiting laboratory.

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