New Delhi: Three astronauts, two Russians and an American blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Soyuz spaceship on Tuesday after more than a month`s delay over a problem with the hull of the Russian-built capsule.
NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba, veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin
Started the journey to the clear skies in the Russian Soyuz TMA-04M rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0301 GMT (11:01 p.m. EDT on Monday).
The crew members gave a thumbs-up signal to a camera on board the capsule, three minutes into the flight. The mission control said that all the crew members were feeling good.
The trio will join Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA`s Don Pettit and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers aboard the ISS, who have already been on the station almost five months since their December launch.
Tuesday`s flight was delayed by one-and-a-half months for safety reasons and to prepare a new capsule for launch after an accident during pressure tests damaged the Soyuz crew capsule.
Ever since the retirement of the space shuttles last year, the United States is dependent on Russia to fly astronauts to the ISS.