Russia launches manned spacecraft to space station

Russia's Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft carrying three astronauts successfully took off for the International Space Station (ISS) and entered the planned orbit Saturday, Russian state space corporation Roscosmos said.


A Soyuz-FG rocket booster carrying the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, NASA astronaut Andrew R Morgan, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano aboard lifts off to the ISS from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, July 20, 2019. (Photo: VCG)

The Soyuz-FG rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 19:28 Moscow time (16:28 GMT), Roscosmos said in a press release.

At 19:37 Moscow time (16:37 GMT), the spacecraft detached from the third launch vehicle stage and continued its autonomous flight to the ISS under the guidance of specialists from the Russian Mission Control Center.

Soyuz MS-13, carrying Roscosmos astronaut Alexander Skvortsov (commander), Luca Parmitano (flight engineer-1) from Italy and Andrew Morgan (flight engineer-2) of the United States, will automatically approach the ISS and dock to it at 01:50 Moscow time Sunday (22:50 GMT Saturday).

The new expedition will join Roscosmos astronaut Alexei Ovchinin, and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch on the ISS.

The space launch was conducted on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing of the U.S. Apollo 11 spacecraft.

Commander Neil Armstrong descended a ladder onto the lunar surface and became the first man to complete what he famously described as "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."