The rocket blasted off from Launch Pad No.1 (the same pad Yuri Gagarin used on humanity’s first space flight in 1961) at 19.28 Moscow Time. Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, astronauts Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Drew Morgan of NASA headed to the International Space Station (ISS).
"The spacecraft did separate in a scheduled mode," the Roscosmos representative said.
"According to telemetry information, the spacecraft’s solar panels are open. External arrays fully deployed," said the commentator at the Mission Control Center.
According to telemetry, parameters of the spacecraft’s orbit are as it was planned.
The rocket will fly to the ISS in accordance with the six-hour plan, which means four spins around the globe. The spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the ISS at 01.50 Moscow Time on Sunday.
The new crew will be working aboard the ISS for 201 days. During the space expedition, first astronaut of the United Arab Emirates Hazza al-Mansouri will travel to the orbital outpost where he will stay for about a week, after which he will return to Earth together with the crew of the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft. Currently, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch are staying on the space station.
Overall, the ISS-60/61 expedition crewmembers are set to carry out almost 50 applied research experiments, five of which will be conducted in an autonomous mode, without the crew’s participation.
The cosmonauts and astronauts will also handle Progress MS resupply ships and a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft that will be launched in its crewless version, and also the android robot Fedor.