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STORY: SPACECRAFT BLASTS OFF DATELINE: April 5, 2011 LENGTH: 0:01:02 LOCATION: Washington ' VO A Russian Soyuz spacecraft, carrying two cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut to the International Space Station, blasted off early on Tuesday from Russia's launchpad in Kazakhstan. CNC correspondents witnessed that the Soyuz spacecraft, named after the first man in space Yuri Gagarin in honour of his historic flight 50 years ago, took off from the Kazakh Baikonur space center. According to the Russian Federal Space Agency, the three new crew members are expected to spend 170 days at the International Space Station. The launch comes less than a week before the 50th anniversary of the first flight into space in 1961 carried out by Russian Yuri Gagarin in the same launch facility. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is expected to carry more American astronauts into the space in the future as the U.S. is retiring its fleet of spaceships. The U.S. space agency NASA announced on Monday that it's del Powered by Producer : Xinhua News Agency