Baikonur: A Rusian manned spacecraft with three astronauts onboard was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday.
The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft carrying three crew members blasted off for the ISS at 12:37 a.m. EDT on Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur).
According to the mission control, the crew is doing well and everything is in order onboard.
Veteran cosmonaut Sergei Volkov of Roscosmos is leading a team that also includes first ever Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazakhstan's space agency.
The trio are set to dock to the station at 3:42 a.m. on Friday, September 4.
Russian space agency Roscosmos said the two-day route was chosen as the 'safest and most reliable' instead of six hours.
Today's take-off marked the 500th launch from the Gagarin launchpad named after the Soviet space pioneer.
Meanwhile, Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscomos will hand over command of the space station to Expedition 44 Flight Engineer Scott Kelly of NASA At 2:40 p.m, Saturday, September 5.
Expedition 45 begins on September 11 when Padalka, Mogensen and Aimbetov undock from the orbital outpost in the Soyuz spacecraft designated TMA-16M and return to Earth.
NASA said Expedition 45 crew members will conduct more than 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development in the coming months