Russian rocket launches 3 astronauts to ISS.

Two Russian cosmonauts have left Earth to spend a year aboard the International Space Station, flying with an American crewmate who will come home after six months.

Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub of the Russian federal space corporation Roscosmos and Loral O'Hara of NASA launched together on Russia's Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft on Friday (Sept. 15). The three lifted off at at 11:44 a.m. EDT (1544 GMT or 8:44 p.m. local time) atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from Site 31/6 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

A trio of small plush seagulls served as the crew's zero-g indicator, beginning to float when the Soyuz entered orbit about nine minutes after leaving Earth. The seagulls were gifts from the director of the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre, which Kononenko visited before the launch.

The launch was timed to put the Soyuz on an expedited path to the International Space Station (ISS), with the crew set to arrive and dock at the Rassvet mini-research module at about 2:56 p.m. EDT (1856 GMT), after just a two-orbit rendezvous.

Source: www.space.com


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