3 astronauts blast off to International Space Station
Three astronauts successfully blasted off Monday to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a perfect launch that follows October's aborted mission.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Monday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes after the launch and is set to dock at the space outpost in about six hours after making four orbits of the Earth.
NASA and Roscosmos said that all onboard systems were operating normally and the crew was feeling fine.
McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will spend more than six months doing research and experiments in biology, Earth science, physical sciences and technology.
On the space station, the crew of NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst were waiting for their arrival. They are scheduled to return to Earth on December 20.