A Soyuz rocket was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 28 carrying a three-man crew from Russia, the United States, and Italy for a five-month mission on the orbiting International Space Station (ISS).
Footage broadcast by Russia's Roscosmos space agency showed the craft lifting off from the Russian-leased Baikonur complex with Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency.
The crew were expected to reach the ISS, which orbits Earth at an altitude of 400 kilometers, about six hours after the 9:41 p.m. local time (5:41 p.m. Prague time) launch.
They are joining NASA's Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who are already aboard the ISS.
For the 42-year-old Ryazansky, it is the third mission aboard the ISS.
The $100 billion ISS space laboratory has been orbiting Earth since 1998.
Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, AP, Interfax, and TASS