Riding nearly a million pounds of thrust, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian crewmates Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner rocketed into orbit April 9 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome en route to the International Space Station.
The three-man crew lifted off at 1:05 p.m. Baikonur time (0805 GMT; 4:05 a.m. EDT) to begin a six-hour pursuit of the space station.
A kerosene-fueled Soyuz-2.1a rocket carried the three space fliers into orbit from the Site 31 launch complex at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Ivanishin rode in the center seat of the Soyuz MS-16 capsule, flanked on the left by flight engineer Vagner and on the right by Cassidy.
The launch occurred without some of the fanfare that typically accompanies crewed flights from Baikonur. The crew’s families and media representatives were barred from attending the launch in person, and support teams were masks, a visible sign of the impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic on the Central Asia steppe.
The trio is scheduled to live and work on the space station for 196 days. Their landing is planned for late October.
Read our earlier story on the mission.
The photos below show the Soyuz crew suiting up and going through leak checks of their Sokol launch and entry spacesuits. The crew then departed the suit-up facility at Baikonur for a bus ride to pad 31, where they boarded the Soyuz spacecraft.
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