MOSCOW – A Russian spacecraft carrying three crewmembers has successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan toward the International Space Station, according to Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos on Sunday.
The Soyuz MS-07 blasted off at 10:21 am and is due to dock at the ISS within two days.
The crew consists of Russia’s Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, United States’ NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The liftoff was scheduled to take place on Dec. 27, but was advanced to Dec. 17 following a request from NASA in order not to coincide with the Christmas holidays.
Baikonur, a special status city in Kazakhstan that is administered by Russia, is currently used for flights to the ISS and is manned mostly by Russian and US crews.
The ISS orbits at between 401 and 408-km above the surface of the Earth, traveling at a rate of 27,000-kph (16,777-mph) and completes its orbit in just over one-and-a-half hours.