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US, Russian, Japanese crew takes off for International Space Station

The crew will gradually approach the station, which orbits about 250 miles above Earth, for two days before docking.

world Updated: Dec 17, 2017 13:26 IST
Reuters
International Space Station,Astronauts,NASA
Members of the International Space Station expedition 54/55, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (C), NASA astronaut Scott Tingle (R) and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency during the send-off ceremony after checking their space suits before the launch of the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, on Sunday.(REUTERS)

A trio of US and Japanese astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut blasted off from Kazakhstan on Sunday for a two-day trip to the International Space Station, a NASA TV broadcast showed.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and flight engineers Norishige Kanai of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Scott Tingle of NASA lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:21 pm local time (0721 GMT/0221 EST).

The crew will gradually approach the station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, for two days before docking.

Russia's Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft carrying members of the International Space Station expedition 54/55 blasts off to the ISS from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday. (AFP)

Shkaplerov, Kanai and Tingle will join Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, who have been aboard the orbital outpost since September.

Onboard cameras showed crew members making thumbs-up gestures after the blast-off. Also visible was a stuffed dog toy chosen by Shkaplerov’s daughter to be the spacecraft’s zero-gravity indicator.

Soyuz was safely in orbit about 10 minutes after the launch.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 13:25 IST