OUTSOURCED IN SPACE: NASA ASTRONAUT ON RUSSIAN ROCKET

Now, here’s some real Obama outsourcing.

This morning, Kazakhstan time, the next mission to the International Space Station successfully blasted off carrying the usual trio — a Russian commander, an astronaut from the international community and an American in a seat rented by NASA since the retirement of the last U.S. space shuttle a year ago this month.

The Soyuz spacecraft, Expedition 32, shown above being moved by rail to the launchpad on Thursday, had Yuri Malenchenko as the commander, Flight Engineer Sunita Williams of NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide. When they dock with the space station Tuesday, they will bring the ISS crew back up to its usual complement of six.

The trio there is scheduled to end its tour and return to Earth on Sept. 17, while the newest three will orbit the earth until just before American Thanksgiving.

NASA-TV will carry live coverage of the Tuesday docking starting about 12:15 a.m. ET and the hatch opening approximately three hours later.

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