A Russian Soyuz rocket sent three spacefliers to the International Space Station today, marking a return to normal operations after a hardware problem spoiled a similar flight in October.
NASA’s Anne McClain, Canada’s David Saint-Jacques and Russia’s Oleg Kononenko lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan into sunset skies as scheduled at 5:31 p.m. local time (3:31 a.m. PT). Gary Jordan, a launch commentator for NASA, hailed a “textbook launch and insertion into orbit.”
The station’s three current crew members could watch the launch from high above. “Looking forward to having a full crew of 6 up here again, at least for a few weeks,” German astronaut Alexander Gerst, the station’s current commander, said in a tweet.