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 al-Mansoori 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 Mansoori, who is on an eight-day mission under a contract between the UAE and Roscosmos.
3-2-1… LIFTOFF! ???? At 9:57am ET, @Astro_Jessica ????????, cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka ???????? & spaceflight participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori ???????? launched on a journey to their new home aboard the @Space_Station. Tune in: https://t.co/x0oE4sFcsu pic.twitter.com/ETKVudGbNe
— NASA (@NASA) September 25, 2019
Mansoori received support from around the world before what he described as his “dream” mission.
He was seen pumping his fist in the air before the launch.
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 Mansoori.
Meir and Skripochka plan to stay for more than six months.
The International Space Station — a rare example of cooperation between Russia and the West — has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometers per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.