Soyuz-FG missile carrier installed at Baikonur cosmodrome launching pad

The Soyuz-FG booster rocket with the docked spaceship Soyuz TMA-3 was taken out early in the morning on Thursday from the assembly and test building and placed on the "Gagarin" launching pad of the Baikonur cosmodrome, RIA Novosti was told in Rosaviakosmos.

The launching of the manned spaceship to the International Space Station with a crew consisting of Russian Alexander Kaleri, American Michael Foale and Spaniard Pedro Duque has been scheduled for Saturday, October 18.

"Today, at 16:30 Moscow time, general checks of all the systems of the booster and spaceship will begin," said a representative of Rosaviakosmos. The state commission is expected to give permission for the launching in the early hours of October 18. The crew will enter the Soyuz-TMA at 07.30 in the morning, and the start is planned for 09.38 Moscow time.

The spaceship Soyuz-TMA-3 is the latest work of the Russian designers. It differs from the previous modifications by the computer control board of the latest generation and improved ergonomics of the saloon where new chairs-lodgements have been installed allowing the delivery of cosmonauts, even two-metres tall, to the ISS with comfort.

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