Russia’s carrier rocket blasts off with sixth space tourist

October 12th, 2008 - 3:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Baikonur, Oct 12 (RIA Novosti) A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket lifted off Sunday from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan with a crew of three, one of them the sixth space tourist, to the International Space Station (ISS).The three-stage carrier rocket was launched at 11.01 a.m. Moscow time (701 GMT) as planned, with the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft subsequently removing from the rocket.

The world’s sole orbiter was successfully moved to a higher orbit Oct 4 to receive the Soyuz craft carrying the 18th ISS expedition - US astronaut Mike Fincke, Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov and US space tourist Richard Garriott.

The son of a US astronaut, millionaire Garriott made his fortune in online computer games, including the popular Ultima Online, and paid $30 million to become the sixth space tourist to travel to the ISS.

He wants to conduct scientific experiments while onboard and some reports have said he may even undertake a space walk.

The crew was approved by Russia’s space agency in late September after a series of preflight tests and medical checks.

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