The Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday bid farewell to a trio of astronauts bound for the International Space Station.
According to a NASA release, the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft blasted off at 2:09 p.m. EST, carrying Russian austronaut Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and the European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli of Italy.
The capsule is expected to dock at the International Space Station’s Rassvet orbiting laboratory Friday afternoon, United Press International reported Wednesday.
Cmdr. Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka have been working in the station’s mini-research module since Oct. 9. They are scheduled to return to Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TMA-01M craft this March.
Kondratyev, Coleman and Nespoli will continue working on the station until May.
The space shuttle Discovery will bring a new crew delivering supplies to the ISS in early February, UPI reported.