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Russian spacecraft blasts off from Kazakhstan

Russian spacecraft blasts off from Kazakhstan

A Russian Soyuz rocket took off to the International Space Station on Saturday, two days after its launch was aborted last minute.

The launch was originally planned for Thursday but was halted by an automatic safety system about 20 seconds before the scheduled lift-off.

Head of Russia's space agency, Yuri Borisov, said a voltage drop in a power source triggered the abort.

The space capsule atop the rocket separated and went into orbit eight minutes after the launch and began a two-day, 34-orbit trip to the space station.

If the launch had gone as scheduled on Thursday, the journey would have been much shorter, requiring only two orbits.

The three astronauts on board are to join the station’s existing crew consisting of NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara, Matthew Dominick, Mike Barratt and Jeanette Epps, as well as Russians Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and Alexander Grebenkin.

The International Space Station is one of the last remaining areas of collaboration between Russia and the West amid tensions over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.

NASA and its partners hope to continue operating the orbiting outpost until 2030.

Russia has continued to rely on modified versions of Soviet-designed rockets for commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the space station.