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Soyuz TMA-05M Rocket is Blessed; Expedition 32/33 Crew Meets with Officials

Preparations continued on July 13 for the launch on July 15 of Expedition 32/33 Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko, NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the International Space Station. At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a Russian Orthodox priest provided a traditional blessing for the Soyuz TMA-05M rocket at the launch pad where the three crewmembers will begin their journey to the station. Later, Malenchenko, Williams and Hoshide appeared before the Russian State Commission at their Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, where the commission gave its final approval for the crew's launch. The crew also conducted a final prelaunch news conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel as they prepared for liftoff. The trio will spend four months on the station. Also featured in the video during the State Commission and Crew News Conference were backup crew members Russian Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko, Canadian Space Agency Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield and NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn.
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