Source Pravda.Ru

New Soyuz with digital navigation technology launches for ISS with US-Russian crew aboard

41935.jpegThe Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft blasted off successfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan taking three astronauts to the International Space Station.

Less than 10 minutes after launch, the spacecraft reached orbit and its antennas and solar arrays were deployed.

The journey will take two days, with the ship scheduled to dock to the Poisk module on Saturday. It's carrying veteran shuttle astronaut Scott Kelly, Soyuz commander Alexander Kaleri and Russian flight engineer Oleg Skripochka, according to TG Daily.

Soyuz TMA-M is a new model and was designed to replace Soyuz TMA spacecraft currently in use. The new spacecraft has newly equipped in-flight measurement systems, new guidance, navigation and control equipment. The Soyuz capsule, flying for the first time with digital navigation technology, is scheduled to dock on Sunday with the ISS.

The weight of the spacecraft has been reduced by 70 kg (154 lbs) and its construction has been improved to make it easier to manufacture, RIA Novosti reports.