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Russian craft docks on International Space Station

By | March 29th 2009


Astronauts on Russia's Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft manually docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday after a malfunction of the automatic docking system, Russian mission control said.

The shuttle, which took off on Thursday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, is carrying U.S. billionaire Charles Simonyi.

Hungarian-born Simonyi, 60, made his fortune developing software at Microsoft and has now made history as the first space tourist to make the journey twice.

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, the captain of the ship, had to manually dock the vessel at 1304 GMT after the automatic mode failed, mission control spokesman Valery Lyndin told Reuters.

"At the last stage of the docking process, the crew had to to switch into manual mode, which Padalka did. This is not unusual," Lyndin said. "Now everything is fine."

Russia has borne the brunt of sending crews and cargo to the multinational ISS since the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry in 2003, killing its crew of seven.


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