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American, Russian, Italian blast off for space station

Three blast off for space stay

A Soyuz capsule carrying an American, Russian and Italian blasted off today for a six-hour trip to the International Space Station, where the new crew will spend six months conducting a variety of experiments. The Russian spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Russia leases in Kazakhstan. NASA's Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and Italy's Luca Parmitano will join three other people — NASA's Chris Cassidy and Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin — who have been aboard the space station since March.

Big asteroid to zip past Earth

An asteroid more than 1½ miles long will zoom past Earth on Friday from a far-off distance. The big rock called Asteroid 1998 QE2 will keep a safe distance of 3.6 million miles, or 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon. You won't be able to see it without a powerful telescope. It's believed to be about 1.7 miles long, or about nine times the length of the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship. But that has nothing to do with its name. The letters and number in the name represent the timing and sequence of the asteroid's discovery in 1998. Scientists will use large radar telescopes to study its shape, rotation and surface features.

Quints arrive all healthy

A 34-year-old Utah woman gave birth to a healthy set of quintuplets over the weekend with help from a team of eight doctors, an anesthesiologist and dozens of nurses ensuring the mother and the tiny babies survived. Guillermina and Fernando Garcia's five babies — three girls and two boys — weigh between 2 to 3 pounds each and are expected to stay at the University of Utah hospital in Salt Lake City for six weeks. Doctors predict they will grow up completely healthy. "They are all doing remarkably well," said Dr. Elizabeth O'Brien, of the newborn intensive care unit. Fewer than 10 quintuplet sets are born each year in the United States.

Associated Press