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Rocket mission set to double space station crew

Russian space officials have given the go-ahead for a history-making launch tomorrow to the international space station.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Russian space officials have given the go-ahead for a history-making launch Wednesday to the international space station.

The three astronauts aboard the Soyuz capsule will double the permanent population of the Space Station to six.

Severe winds at Russia's remote space complex in Kazakhstan and an unconfirmed report of a journalist being diagnosed with swine flu had raised last-minute concerns about cancellation.

Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and Belgium's Frank De Winne will blast off to the orbiting laboratory, arriving Friday.

Thirsk says one goal of the "milestone" mission is "to prove the station can support six people for a long duration."

A NASA spokesman says that, in the future, the ISS could handle as many as 13 people, as the crew plays host to short-term visitors.