The next crew of the International Space Station (ISS) has left the Earth. The Expedition 34 crew today lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:12 am EST.
The crew consists of NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield. The crew is currently riding the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft and is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Friday morning.
The trio are expected to stay on the ISS until May of next year. They will join three people already onboard the space station – Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, who have been on the station since October. Hadfield will become the first Canadian commander of the ISS in March, when the current crew of the space station returns to earth.
The focus of this expedition, according to NASA, is scientific research including human physiology tests. The crew will serve as subjects for the examination of astronaut bone loss while also conducting experiments (such as on how fire behaves in space), observations of Earth, human research, and technology demonstrations.
The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft was captured by NASA, and can be seen below. Temperatures were far below freezing at the time of the launch.