A Russian Soyuz spacecraft has taken off from Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half-month mission on the International Space Station
- A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts took off from Kazakhstan for six-and-a-half-month-long mission to the International Space Station
- A Soyuz rocket carrying the first Russian woman (Oleg Kononenko) to fly in space.
- The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the International Space Station since the United States retired the space shuttle in 2011
- It is the first successful manned mission to the space lab since an aborted Soyuz launch in October 2018.
- The last female astronaut on the ISS was American Karen Nyberg who was in orbit for six months in 2013.
- The Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle that can ferry crews to the space station, but Russia stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner crew capsules.
- About International Space Station
- The International Space Station is a large spacecraft orbiting some 240 miles (390 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.
- Built by 15 different countries and overseen by 5 space agencies, among them NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos agency, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
- It is about four times as large as the Russian space station Mir and five times as large as the U.S. Skylab.