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MOSCOW (AP) - A Soyuz carrying an American, Russian and Italian blasted off Wednesday for a six-hour trip to the International Space Station, where the new crew will spend six months conducting a variety of experiments.

The Russian spacecraft lifted off at 2:31 a.m. (2031GMT, 4:31 p.m. EDT Tuesday) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Russia leases in Kazakhstan. Live footage provided by NASA TV showed it soaring into the clear night sky. About four minutes later, the announcer said the Soyuz was traveling at 4,700 miles per hour (about 7,500 kilometers per hour).

The cramped capsule carrying NASA's Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and Italy's Luca Parmitano will orbit the Earth four times before docking with the space station less than six hours after liftoff.

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