3 Astronauts Blast Off After Strict Quarantine

Officials protected ISS crew during training
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 9, 2020 12:11 AM CDT
US-Russian Crew Blasts Off After Strict Quarantine
In this handout photo released by Roscosmos US astronaut Chris Cassidy, left, Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin, centre, and Ivan Vagner pose during a news conference at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, April 8, 2020.   (Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service via AP)

A US-Russian space crew blasted off to the International Space Station on Thursday following a tight quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner lifted off as scheduled at 1:05pm local time from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the AP reports. Their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft was set to dock at the station six hours later. 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 Wednesday in a video link from Baikonur, Cassidy said crew members have been in "a very strict quarantine” for the past month and are in good health. "We all feel fantastic," he said. (More International Space Station stories.)

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