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Astronaut taking INDYCAR to International Space Station
he IZOD IndyCar Series is entering the space race......sort of.

Actually, an IZOD IndyCar Series 1:64 diecast car is among the personal items accompanying U.S. astronaut Kevin Ford on his scheduled Oct. 23 voyage to the International Space Station.

Ford, 52, a native of Montpelier, Ind., and a University of Notre Dame graduate, will join two Russian cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz capsule. The retired U.S. Air Force colonel will serve as the flight engineer through November before relieving another astronaut as the space station's commander through March 2013.

"I take a few things to remind me of my home state and home schools, and one of the things from my home state is a small race car that represents the Indianapolis 500," said Ford, who was the pilot of space shuttle Discovery for a September 2009 mission to the space station.

Ford and his colleagues will be aboard the station during an exceptionally busy time that includes cargo operations of two SpaceX Dragon commercial vehicles, four Russian Progress resupply vehicles and the arrival of "Cygnus," the first commercial cargo spacecraft from the Orbital Sciences Corp., scheduled for December.

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