It was like the beginning of a well-worn joke. An American, a Russian, and a Japanese walk into a bar… Sorry, into the Soyuz spacecraft at Baikonur.
A Russian Soyuz FG rocket successfully launched the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft on its mission to the International Space Station.
The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome took place at at 21:02 UTC.
The Soyuz, a trusty “work horse” of a spacecraft, is set to deliver NASA’s Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos and Kimiya Yui of JAXA to a new home in orbit.
Following a series of startling failures of unmanned missions to the ISS in the last few months, much attention was being paid to Soyuz and its human crew. The adrenaline was just a notch higher than usual – which is only understandable.
The launch of such a diverse crew was a great reminder of how humanity manages to achieve awesome feats when nations cooperate with each other – as opposed to wage war, for example.