Soyuz TMA-18M Spacecraft takes off for International Space Station

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three members streaked into orbit on Wednesday to International Space Station.

It is a two-day flight with a Russian, Dane and a Kazakh on board. Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft lifted off on schedule at 12:37:43 am EDT (GMT-4, 10:37 am local time) from Yuri Gagarin’s launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome which is a Russian launch facility in Kazakhstan.

Russia’s Sergei Volkov is a second-generation cosmonaut and is travelling into space for the third time. Andreas Mogensen is the first Dane to fly in space while Aidyn Aimbetov is the third Kazakh to make the trip to orbit. Aidyn was added to the crew when singer Sarah Brightman pulled out due to personal issues.

When the spacecraft thundered towards the orbit, all the three crew members looked calm and composed in the live television shots that were taken from the Soyuz command module.

The spacecraft will reach the orbiting outpost on Friday. Earlier, the crews took a direct flight that lasted for 6 hours but just recently Russian Federal Space Agency made a decision to follow the traditional route considering the security issues.

With the arrival of these three crew members on the station, the number on board will be 9 for the first time since 2013. Kazakh and Dane along with Russian Gennady Padalka, the current station commander will come back to Earth on September 12. NASA’s Scott Kelly will then take over the command and stay there for full one year. She will prepare for future trips to Mars by studying the effects that long space travel will have.