Russian spy sees off US-Russian crew as it blasts off for orbiting space station

By Nataliya Vasilyeva, AP
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spy sees off US-Russian crew for space station

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — A Russian rocket with a U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts onboard blasted off successfully early Friday for the International Space Station, with flame-haired Russian spy Anna Chapman making an unexpected appearance at the cosmodrome to wave them good-bye.

The Soyuz TMA-01M was launched at the scheduled time of 5:10 a.m. (2310 GMT) from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the vast steppe of southern Kazakhstan.

Scott Kelly and Russia’s Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka are due to reach the orbiting laboratory in two days, where they will join two U.S. astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut who have been at the station since June.

Chapman, who has avoided the public and the press since being deported from the United States in July, was seen at the farewell ceremony for the space crew.

Accompanied by a burly man who blocked her from reporters, Chapman walked hastily to a guarded guest house near the launch pad.

Chapman was one of 10 Russian spies deported from the U.S. Her sultry photos gleaned from social-networking sites made her a tabloid sensation.

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