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    New Crew for the Space Station Launches With 4 Astronauts From 4 Countries

    New Crew for the Space Station Launches With 4 Astronauts From 4 Countries

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Four astronauts from four countries rocketed toward the International Space Station on Saturday.

    They should reach the orbiting lab in their SpaceX capsule Sunday, replacing four astronauts living up there since March.

    A astronaut was joined on the predawn liftoff from Kennedy Space Center by fliers from , and . They clasped one another's gloved hands upon reaching orbit.

    It was the first U.S. launch where every spacecraft seat was occupied by a different country — until now, NASA had always included two or three of its own on its SpaceX taxi flights. A fluke in timing led to the assignments, officials said.

    “We're a united team with a common mission,” NASA's Jasmin Moghbeli radioed from orbit. Added NASA's Ken Bowersox, space operations mission chief: “Boy, what a beautiful launch … and with four international crew members, really an exciting thing to see.”

    Moghbeli, a Marine pilot serving as commander, is joined on the six-month mission by the European Space Agency's Andreas Mogensen, Japan's Satoshi Furukawa and Russia's Konstantin Borisov.

    “To explore space, we need to do it together,” the European Space Agency's director general, Josef Aschbacher, said minutes before liftoff. “Space is really global, and international cooperation is key.”

    The astronauts' paths to space couldn't be more different.

    Moghbeli's parents fled…

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