Photos released by the Russian space agency show the launch of a Soyuz booster Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut en route to the International Space Station.
The 162-foot (49-meter) Soyuz-2.1a rocket departs from Pad No. 31 in Baikonur at 10:45:04 local time Wednesday. The lift took place at 0545:04 GMT (1:45:04 am EDT).
Soyuz rocket fuel-fuel engines have generated more than 900,000 pounds of thrust to push the mission to the launch pad in Baikonur.
In less than 10 minutes, the upper Soyuz stage deployed the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft into orbit, initiating a fast-track, two-orbit encounter at the space station. The staff capsule is linked to the Rassvet module at the space station at 4:48 am EDT (0848 GMT).
Commander Sergey Ryzhikov boarded the center seat during a three-hour pursuit of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at the space station. Ryzhikov, 46, was a former MiG-29 fighter pilot in the Russian Air Force and a veteran of a previous space station flight in 2016 and 2017, when he logged 173 days into orbit.
Russian cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov boarded the left seat of the Soyuz and served as the main flight engineer. Kud-Sverchkov is a 37-year-old first-time space flier who joined the Russian cosmonaut corps in 2010 after working as a rocket engineer at Energia, the main contractor for the humanflight program in Russia.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is in the right seat inside the Soyuz crew capsule. Rubins, born in Connecticut and raised in California, launched his 42nd birthday to begin his second space station journey after a 115-day mission in 2016. He earned a Ph.D in cancer biology, worked in public health, and studied infectious diseases before he was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 2009.
These photos show the final preparations of the Soyuz crew pre-launch and mission lift to the galaxy station.
Email the author.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.