A fresh crew took off for the International Space Station on Tuesday aboard a Russian rocket.
Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev — of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) — and Steve Swanson of NASA are riding inside the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft, NASA said in a statement.
They launched at 5:17 p.m. ET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and were expected to dock some six hours later.
They will orbit the Earth four times before they rendezvous and approach the orbital laboratory station, NASA said.
“As is customary, Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev will have several days set aside to familiarize themselves with their new home in space. The new trio will also assist the veteran crewmates as they adjust to living and working in space for six months,” the agency said in its statement.
The three will join Koichi Wakata of Japan, Rick Mastracchio of the United States and Mikhail Tyurin of Russia, who are expected to return home in May.
Skvortsov, Artemyev and Swanson are scheduled to return in September.