Three new crew members are on their way to the International Space Station, following the launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan.
Liftoff came at 4:05 EDT (2:05 p.m. local time) on Oct. 19 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Baikonur. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, and Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos are expected to reach the ISS by Oct. 21 and spend at least five months working on an array of scientific research aboard the orbiting space lab.
The trio joins Expedition 49 Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and flight engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Roscosmos will continue to handle ISS crew shuttles until at least 2018. NASA has contracts with Boeing and SpaceX to begin handling such missions, but launch vehicle development and testing will continue for at least another two years.