posted on Apr, 18 2004 @ 09:25 PM
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) -- A spacecraft that will carry a new crew to the international space station has been hoisted into launch position in
preparation for the third manned mission to the orbital outpost since NASA's shuttle disaster sidelined the U.S. space fleet.
The 132-foot rocket topped by a Soyuz TMA-4 spacecraft was carefully rolled out of a hangar on Saturday at the Baikonur cosmodrome and slowly drawn by
rail to the launch site for manned space missions.
Police and two fire engines escorted the rocket on its two-hour journey. A sniffer dog ran ahead of the train checking the track for explosives.
Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, American astronaut Michael Fincke and Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers are to blast off Monday aboard the spacecraft
on the third manned mission to the orbital outpost since the halt of the U.S. shuttle program following the February 2003 Columbia disaster.
With the U.S. space fleet sidelined, Russia's non-reusable rockets are the only means of delivering astronauts and cargo to the space station.
At least the Russians still have the spirit. But seriously, are we being such -female genitalia slang- to really not even go into space during the
interim time between the Columbia explosion to when we get a new spacecraft? (by we, I mean USA)
DA/\/\ U RUSKIS