Soyuz TMA-4 has successfully linked up with the International Space Station. 'We have a connection!' Flight Control declared at 9:01 a.m. Moscow time. As reported by Vesti, the Russian Kurs system for automated approaches and docking worked perfectly.
Soyuz TMA-4 took into orbit Gennady Padalka, a Russian, and Mike Fincke, an American. They are to stay aboard the space station for 183 days. Andrei Kuipers, who will stay only 10 days, accompanied the two. Kuipers is Dutch. He returns to Earth April 30, along with Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Kalery and NASA astronaut Michael Foale. They have been aboard the station since last October.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers