Russia launches manned spacecraft to ISS
A Russian spaceship with two astronauts and one space tourist aboard blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
Local TV showed that a Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the Soyuz TMA-16 spaceship lifted off at 11:15 Moscow time (0715 GMT), with the 21st ISS crew Russian and U.S. astronaut Maxim Surayev and Jeffrey Williams on board.
The Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Oct. 2 after two days of flight.
Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberte, founder and CEO of the world-renowned acrobatic group Cirque du Soleil, joined the mission as world's seventh space tourist.
Surayev and Williams will work at the station for six months, while Laliberte will spend 12 days and nights there before returning to earth together with the 19th mission on board the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft.