Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off

20 April, 2017, 13:45 | Author: Leticia Walters

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, 43, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, 58, lifted off at 1:13 p.m. local time/3:13 a.m. EDT (0713 GMT) with a rare empty third seat.

The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft carrying the crew of Jack Fischer of the USA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Russian Federation, blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome April 20, 2017. On that day, Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, will have spent 535 days in space, more time than any other American astronaut. Jeffrey Williams now holds the record.

Ms Whitson, a station commander, is going to become the USA astronaut who has spent the most cumulative time in space - surpassing the 534 days served by Jeff Williams.

USA astronaut Jack Fischer, crew member of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, waves near the rocket prior to the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Yurchikhin and Fischer are set to complete a five-month mission at the station and should join three astronauts, including NASA's Peggy Whitson, on the orbital laboratory.

"It's all about suction, it's really hard", Fischer said in a NASA interview before launch.

Soyuz crewmate Yurchikhin has made four previous spaceflights.

The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday. Station commander Peggy Whitson, 57, in the midst of her third long-duration mission, is due on Monday to beat the 534-day record for cumulative time spent in space by a USA astronaut.

The ISS laboratory, a rare example of American and Russian global cooperation, has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998.

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