News In Brief

Space roster totals 8 with Soviet launching

The Soviet Union launched a spacecraft Wednesday with three cosmonauts aboard to continue a ''program of peaceful exploration of outer space,'' the official Tass news agency said.

The launching came on the fifth day of the flight of the American space shuttle Challenger. ''Great, it's really getting to be populated up here,'' said Challenger's commander, Vance Brand, when the crew was told about the Soviet launching. Mission control in Houston said that the eight people now in space constitute ''an all-time record'' number.

The Soyuz spacecraft was to dock with the orbital station Salyut 7, Tass said. The crew will carry out scientific, technical, medical, and biological studies and experiments.

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