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New crew blasts off for International Space Station

One American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts have left Earth and are headed to join the crew of the ISS. Their journey is expected to take two days.

Early on Wednesday morning at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a Soyuz MS-02 ignited and launched a capsule with three new crew members for the International Space Station (ISS) into space.

The three men - NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, plus Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov from Russia's space agency Roscosmos – will orbit the Earth for two days before docking with the ISS. Their mission will last just over four months.

The trio was originally scheduled to launch back in September, but a problem with the Soyuz rocket forced the launch to be pushed back.

Borisenko, Kimbrough and Ryzhikov will join three other crew members already living on in the ISS. Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi, both American, and Russian Anatoly Ivanishin round out the six-person Expedition 49 crew, as the ISS mission is officially called.

Ivanishin, Onishi, and Rubins are scheduled to return to Earth at the end of October. As their new colleagues circle the globe before joining them, they are continuing to conduct research on board the ISS, including tests that aim to help doctors understand the effects of living in space.

Before their arrival, the three new crew members will conduct in-flight tests on the new Soyuz MS-02 rocket.

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