A Soyuz rocket climbed away from a historic launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday with three new crew members heading for the International Space Station.
Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, making his first trip into space, sat in the commander’s seat of the Soyuz TMA-20M spaceship for the launch at 2126:38 GMT (5:26:38 p.m. EDT) from Launch Pad No. 1 at Baikonur, the same facility used on Yuri Gagarin’s launch in 1961 to inaugurate the era of human spaceflight.
Flight engineer Oleg Skripochka, who has one previous space mission to his credit, occupied the left seat. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams took the right-hand couch inside the Soyuz capsule to begin his fourth journey to the space station.
Docking with the station’s Poisk module was expected at 0311 GMT (11:11 p.m. EDT), less than six hours after liftoff.
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