Garagin Soyuz to Launch March 20, 2011

The launch of the Russian Soyuz TMA-21, set for Sunday, March 20, 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan , is to be devoted to the 50th anniversary of the first space mission by Yuri Gagarin. The spacecraft, called the Yuri Garagin, will transport three members of the Expedition 27 crew to the International Space Station.

Significant celebrations are planned at the International Space Station to recognize the first space flights of Yuri Garagin and Alan Shepard during the Expedition 27 crew stay on-orbit. The Russians have declared 2011 The Year of the Cosmonaut.

The Soyuz TMA-21 flight patch uses a drawing by a French boy, Marciel Santos Kayle, 12, who lives in French Guiana, not far away from the new launch pad for Russian Soyuz rockets later this year. Marciel’s sketch was chosen for the crew emblem because it depicts Gagarin and his spacecraft, Vostok. The patch will be worn by the Soyuz prime crew – Russians Alexander Samokutyayev, Andrei Borisenko and American Ron Garan.

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