The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Thursday launched three new crew members for the International Space Station at 7:06 am (IST).
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency were launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The launch marked the debut flight of a next-generation Russian Soyuz capsule, currently the only vehicles capable of ferrying astronauts and cosmonauts to and from the space station, a $100 billion project of 15 countries.
The crew will travel in the upgraded Soyuz spacecraft, for two days, before reaching the docking to space station at 9:42 am on Saturday, July 9. All three will spend approximately four months on the orbital complex, returning to Earth in October.