NASA launches upgraded Soyuz aircraft with three crew membershttps://indianexpress.com/photos/technology-gallery/nasa-upgraded-soyuz-aircraft-international-space-station-crew-members-2898528/

NASA launches upgraded Soyuz aircraft with three crew members

The NASA crew is due to arrive on Friday at the International Space Station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, to begin a four-month mission.

NASA, NASA launch, NASA launch today, International Space Station, Soyuz, Soyuz launch, new Soyuz launch, Soyuz launch today

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency were blasted off on Thursday from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome towards the International Space Station in an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft.

First-time astronauts Kathleen Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japanese space agency set off for a four-month mission at the ISS with two-time Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin at 0706 IST.

US astronaut Kate Rubins, left, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, centre, and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi. (Pool Photo via AP)

NASA, NASA launch, NASA launch today, International Space Station, Soyuz, Soyuz launch, new Soyuz launch, Soyuz launch today

The trio's launch was delayed by over two weeks as Russian space officials carried out further software tests on the modified vehicle.

The Soyuz MS spacecraft, prior the launch at the Baikonur cosmodrome. (Reuters)

NASA, NASA launch, NASA launch today, International Space Station, Soyuz, Soyuz launch, new Soyuz launch, Soyuz launch today

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 station, a $100 billion project of 15 countries.

Policemen ride an armoured vehicle in front of the Soyuz MS spacecraft shortly before its launch. (Reuters)

NASA, NASA launch, NASA launch today, International Space Station, Soyuz, Soyuz launch, new Soyuz launch, Soyuz launch today

Features of the new Soyuz series include upgraded boosters, an improved navigation system, strengthened shielding from debris and more cells on the craft's solar panels. (Reuters)

NASA, NASA launch, NASA launch today, International Space Station, Soyuz, Soyuz launch, new Soyuz launch, Soyuz launch today

The crew is due to arrive on Friday at the station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, to begin a four-month mission. (Reuters)

NASA, NASA launch, NASA launch today, International Space Station, Soyuz, Soyuz launch, new Soyuz launch, Soyuz launch today

The launch appeared flawless and the spacecraft entered orbit about 10 minutes after liftoff. (Reuters)