Three-man Soyuz crew departs for space station
The Soyuz TMA-04M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday carrying Expedition 31 Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka, NASA Flight Engineer Joseph Acaba and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin to the International Space Station. (AP/NASA, Bill Ingalls)
A three-man crew blasted off from a space center in southern Kazakhstan on board a Russian-made Soyuz craft for a half-year stay at the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin set off from the Baikonur facility as scheduled Tuesday at 9:01 a.m. local time (0301 GMT).
Russia's space agency says the craft is due to dock with the space station Thursday morning and will join the three astronauts currently staying at the orbiting laboratory.
The crew will immediately begin preparation for the arrival next week of privately owned SpaceX's Dragon Capsule. It will be the first time a private company has launched space station supplies.