Soyuz rocket heads to space station

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

The crew only needed 6 hours to reach the International Space Station.

Earlier Tuesday morning, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the nation of Kazakhstan. The space crew, which was made up of two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut, will spend five and a half months in space around the International Space Station (ISS).

The launch went off without a hitch, carrying NASA’s Steve Swanson along with Russia’s Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev into the stars. While Swanson and Skvortsov have travelled through space before, this will be Artemyev’s first time leaving Earth. While there were some engine problems that delayed the launch for a time, the craft is now working flawlessly. According to NASA, the crewmembers are perfectly safe in the Soyuz.

Despite all the political turmoil between the US and Russia, their space programs have been left relatively unaffected by the conflict. In fact, the Soyuz spacecrafts are the only vehicles that take NASA astronauts to space, but the American agency is working with private company SpaceX to one day break away from relying on Russia’s ships.

The journey to reach the ISS is only 6 hours long, which is just a bit more than an airplane ride from Los Angeles to New York!

Images courtesy of NASA.