Fri, October 08, 2010
World > Europe

Russian spy Chapman appears at space launch

2010-10-08 13:53:21 GMT2010-10-08 21:53:21 (Beijing Time)

A security officer leads away former Russian spy Anna Chapman (R) during a farewell ceremony for the International Space Station (ISS) crew of U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka at the Baikonur cosmodrome October 7, 2010. (REUTERS Photo)

Anna Chapman, left, a Russian national who was deported from the U.S. this summer for alleged spying for Russia, appears at the farewell ceremony for a U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010. The three men are set to blast off to the International Space Station Friday morning. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan – Russian spy Anna Chapman has come out of the shadows to wave off astronauts at a launch pad in Kazakhstan, her first appearance at a public event since the United States deported her in July.

Chapman, whose glamorous lifestyle as a spy in the United States turned her into a media sensation, watched a rocket blast off with two Russian cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS).

Appearing briefly in jeans and a short red coat at the launch site in the Kazakh steppe, Chapman refused to answer reporters' questions at a farewell ceremony for Russians Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka and Scott Kelly from the United States.

The Russian rocket blasted off on schedule at 0511 local time on Friday (7:11 a.m. EDT on Thursday).

After frantic negotiations between spymasters in Moscow and Washington, Chapman was deported by the United States with nine other people in July as part of the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.

Chapman became one of Russia's most notorious spies when photographs she posted on social networking site Facebook were plastered across the front pages of tabloid newspapers around the world.

She posed provocatively for a Russian magazine shoot in August, but had not previously appeared at a public event since she was deported.


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