Jewish, Arab astronauts blast off for International Space Station
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Jewish, Arab astronauts blast off for International Space Station

Jessica Meir, UAE’s Hazzaa Ali Almansoori and Oleg Skripochka of Russia enter orbit after taking off from Kazakhstan; will join 6 other astronauts aboard space station

United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa 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)
United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa 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)

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.

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 Soyuz MS-15 rocket carrying three crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) flies moments after blasting off from the launch pad of the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 25, 2019. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP)

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.

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