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Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 12:06 UK

Space station crew set to double

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Three astronauts have blasted off for the International Space Station, where they are set to raise the station's crew to six for the first time.

Belgian Frank De Winne, Canadian Robert Thirsk and Russian Roman Romanenko travelled in a Soyuz craft, which launched from Kazakhstan at 1134 BST.

Rather than coming straight home, the current residents are to stay aboard the ISS with the new arrivals.

After four months, Mr De Winne will take over as commander of the ISS.

That will be the first time a European has taken charge of a crew in orbit.

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