A multinational crew made up of an American, a Russian and the first space traveler from the United Arab Emirates blasted off successfully on Wednesday for a mission on the International Space Station.
A Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off as scheduled at 6:57 p.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and entered a designated orbit en route to the station.
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir — a Swedish-American Jew whose father is Israeli — Oleg Skripochka of Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the UAE are set to dock at the orbiting outpost six hours later.
The mission is the third spaceflight for Skripochka and the first for both Meir and Almansoori, who is on an eight-day mission under a contract between the UAE and Roscosmos.
The trio will join the crew already on the International Space Station: Russians Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov, NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan, and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.
Hague and Ovchinin are scheduled to wrap up a mission of more than 200 days on October 3 and return to Earth with Almansoori.
Meir and Skripochka plan to stay for more than six months.
Header image: United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri, centre, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, bottom, and US astronaut Jessica Meir, top, members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), board the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft for the launch at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, September 25, 2019. (Maxim Shipenkov/Pool Photo via AP)