BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan – Russia’s Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft with three crew members on board lifted off Friday night from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a six-hour journey to the International Space Station.
Liftoff took place at 9:40 pm local time (1541 GMT) with the help of the Soyuz FG three-stage launcher.
“The spacecraft has separated from the third stage of the Soyuz FG carrier rocket,” a loudspeaker at the launch pad announced.
Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky, American astronaut Randolph Bresnik and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are on board the Soyuz MS-05.
The spacecraft will dock at the ISS at around 2150 GMT after a journey of just over six hours.
It will mark the second time a Soyuz MS will dock at the station after taking the abbreviated six-hour route. Three others arrived at the ISS after a two-day orbital rendezvous in which the spacecraft underwent a series of tests.
The ISS, a more than $150-billion (128.1-billion-euro) project built by a partnership of 16 nations, currently consists of 14 permanent modules and orbits at a velocity of more than 27,000 kilometers (16,778 miles) per hour at an altitude of 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.