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Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
In pictures: Return to Mir
A Soyuz rocket has blasted off from the Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan, carrying two Russian cosmonauts to the Mir space station.

It is the first manned mission to Mir since August, when Russia decided to leave the station empty because of financial problems.

blast off
After months of delay, the Soyuz rocket blasts off a launch pad carrying two cosmonauts

sky
The spacecraft is expected to dock with Mir on Thursday and the crew's main task will be to locate an air leak

wave
Russian cosmonaut Sergei Zalyotin waves from the launch pad moments before the blast off

help
Two Russian personnel help Sergei Zalyotin to stand up at Baikonur Cosmodrome

Soyuz PM-30 and train
Old and new: Engineers at Baikonur use a diesel engine to tow the booster

Soyuz booster
The Soyuz PM-30 spacecraft stands in a huge hangar before the operation to move it into position on Sunday
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See also:

04 Apr 00 | Sci/Tech
Mir rescue mission blasts off
16 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Mir actor remains grounded
17 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Mir to be turned into hotel
03 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Cargo spacecraft docks with Mir
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