A U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) Friday for a six-month mission.
NASA's Mark Vande Hei and Russians Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov blasted off as scheduled on board of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The three were launched in a capsule named in honor of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who became the first person in space 60 years ago, on April 12, 1961.
The mission also marks the 40th anniversary of NASA's first space shuttle launch.
Their journey to the station takes about three hours and includes two Earth orbits.
Vande Hei, Novitskiy and Dubrov will work on biology, biotechnology and Earth science experiments during their stay at the ISS.
NASA's Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov are set to return from the space station on April 17.