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Soyuz crew leaves Baikonur for ISS

Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft with an international crew on board led by Belarus’ Oleg Novitsky has been launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International State Station (ISS).

The spacecraft's crew also includes U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet from France. They are set to conduct more than 50 scientific experiments, and also work with the Russian, Japanese and U.S. cargo spacecraft.

Hero of Russia Oleg Novitsky took Belarus’ national flag to the ISS as a mark of respect to his native land and the loved ones.

Oleg Novitsky was born in the city of Cherven, Minsk Oblast. It will be the second space mission for Oleg Novitsky. He commanded the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft to the orbiting complex from 23 October 2012 to 16 March 2013. 

The Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City has so far trained more than 1,000 cosmonauts from different countries, including three Belarusians: Piotr Klimuk, Vladimir Kovalenok and Oleg Novitsky.