A Russian-built Soyuz rocket has launched three new crew members toward the International Space Station.
The new crew — who are set to join three current crew members on the space station on Dec. 19 — include Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Russian space agency Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.
The arriving trio replace three crew members who departed the ISS on Dec. 14: NASA’s Randy Bresnik, Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, and Sergei Ryazansky of Roscosmos, whose Soyuz cargo craft touched down safely in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz will remain docked at the space station for six months, providing an escape pod in the event of any emergency aboard the ISS.
Just over an hour after the Soyuz was launched toward the ISS, a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule loaded with almost 5,000 pounds of crew supplies and research equipment docked at the orbiting space lab.