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Sweden to blast fresh blood into space

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Sweden to blast fresh blood into space
09:45 CET+01:00
A rocket carrying newly drawn blood is to be sent into space from the Esrange space centre in Kiruna, in the far north of Sweden.

The object of the mission is to study how white blood cells respond in zero gravity.

"This is a fairly complex experiment," said Anne Ytterskog, information officer of the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), to the TT news agency.

SSC hopes the experiment will help scientists understand why the human immune system is weakened by space travel.

This experiment is one of several set to be launched in a Maser rocket from the Esrange centre in the coming days.

The twelve-metre long rocket will carry the experiments to the dizzying height of 250 kilometres, allowing them to experience weightlessness for six minutes.

The experiments will then be parachuted back down to earth.

To ensure that the blood sent into space is as fresh as can be, blood donors are on location in Kiruna as the time for take-off approaches.

Provided weather conditions are favourable, the blood-filled rocket will be launched sometime on Saturday.

Astronaut Christer Fuglesang visited the Esrange space centre during the final preparations for the launch, wrote SSC in a statement. Fuglesang is the only Swede to date to have travelled in space.

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