Three spacemen launch to the ISS

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50 years ago the USA won the race for the first manned moon landing. Today an international team started for the space station in Russia.

On the anniversary of the moon landing 50 years ago, an Italian and a US astronaut as well as a Russian cosmonaut took off from Russia’s Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station ISS. The Soyuz rocket with the astronauts Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan as well as the Russian Alexander Skwortsow took off on Saturday at 6.28 p.m. (CEST), as the television of the US space agency Nasa commented; there was talk of a “picture book launch”. The flight to the IS takes about six hours.

The USA had discontinued its space shuttle programme for 2011. Since then, US astronauts have only been able to reach the ISS with Russian Soyuz rockets. The contract with Russia expires in November 2019.

The space company SpaceX of the US billionaire Elon Musk wants to offer a cost-effective alternative to state space programmes. On behalf of Nasa, the California-based company has already supplied the ISS with supplies. The core of the programme is the multiple usability of the launch vehicles, which can land on Earth again after their deployment in space.

The historical moon landing 50 years ago was commemorated with celebrations and events all over the world on Saturday. On 20 July 1969 (after today’s Central European summer time, 21 July at 3.56 a.m.), US astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon as part of the Nasa Apollo 11 programme. (AFP)

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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