Three new crewmembers departed on Tuesday on a two-day voyage to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
The Expedition 33/34 crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin, as well as NASA astronaut Kevin Ford.
Russia’s Soyuz-FG rocket with Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft carrying the new crew blasted off at 02.51 p.m. Moscow time (10:51 GMT) from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz TMA is due to dock with the orbital outpost on October 25.
This is the first space trip for Novitsky and Tarelkin. Ford has already traveled in space, flying on an American shuttle in 2009, but it is his first flight experience with the Soyuz spacecraft.
Baikonur space center
They will join the current crew consisting of NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide.
Russian Soyuz-family spacecraft remain the only means of transportation for crew members to and from the orbital station until at least 2015.