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U.S.-Russian crew blast off for space station

Christian Fernsby |
A US-Russian space crew have blasted off to the International Space Station following a tight quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Nasa astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner lifted off as scheduled from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russian space officials have taken extra precautions to protect the crew during training and pre-flight preparations as the coronavirus outbreak has swept the world.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday in a videolink from Baikonur, Mr Cassidy said the crew had been in “a very strict quarantine” for the past month and are in good health.

“We all feel fantastic,” he said.

Commander Ivanishin also noted that extra measures have been taken to keep the crew healthy and safe before launch, adding that none of the crew have had any guests — no family or friends.

“We’ve been completely isolated at this final stage of training,” he said.

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