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Five flight engineers and Commander Dmitry Kondratyev, a colonel in the Russian air force, are preparing for the launch this afternoon of a Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft as the 27th expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) continues. With a scheduled launch time of 6:18 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz, named after Yuri Gagarin, will shuttle three of the crew members to the ISS, where they will meet up with the rest of their team. While the onboard crew slept last night, ground controllers used thrusters from three different spacecraft to push the ISS away from a chunk of orbital debris that could have interfered with the Soyuz's arrival.

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Image: NASA.

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