A workhorse Soyuz booster thundered to life and climbed into a dark Kazakh sky Friday, carrying NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko on a four-orbit voyage to the International Space Station to kick off a marathon 342-day mission, the longest flight ever attempted by an American.
Three space station residents launched Friday from Kazakhstan, kicking off a nearly yearlong expedition to help plan for future voyages to Mars. The crew blasted off on a Soyuz rocket heading for the International Space Station at 1943 GMT (3:43 p.m. EDT). Docking occurred at 0136 GMT (9:36 p.m. EDT).
A Soyuz rocket is sitting on a historic launch pad in Kazakhstan after a railroad journey at sunrise Wednesday positioned the crew ferry craft for liftoff Friday with a three-man crew destined for the International Space Station, including two spaceflight veterans who will spend nearly one year in orbit.