A Russian-made Soyuz rocket blasted a three-man crew into orbit on Monday, beginning the first manned voyage to the International Space Station since a mission in October was aborted in midair because of a rocket malfunction.
Cosmonaut of Roscosmos Oleg Kononenko, astronauts of NASA and the Canadian space agency Ann McClain and David Saint-Jacques will head to the ISS. You can see more awesome launch photos in our full gallery.
But today, everything went precisely according to plan, with an on-schedule and anomaly-free liftoff at 6:31 a.m. EST (1131 GMT).
They'll spend about six hours in orbit before docking at the ISS around 12:30 p.m, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.
"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board", the 54-year-old said.
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The launch will be a test for Russia's space industry, which has suffered several high-profile crashes in recent years but remains the only reliable way to deliver crew members to the orbiting station.
After NASA retired the Space Shuttle in 2011, Russian Soyuz rockets have been the only way to get people to the International Space Station.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine meanwhile thanked the U.S. and Russian teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".
Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency brushed aside any possible safety concerns, saying risk was just part of the job.
RFE also quoted McClain, 39, saying: "We feel very ready for it".
Before take-off, an Orthodox priest at the launchpad on Sunday gave his blessing to the flight, splashing holy water from a brush and holding up a cross.
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Saint-Jacques, 48, described the Soyuz spacecraft as "incredibly safe".
Roscomos later said the cause of the accident was a defective sensor.
Russian Federation said last month the October launch had failed because of a sensor damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome, but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.
Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian resident of the International Space Station since Chris Hadfield, who was on a five-month mission that ended in May 2013.
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Sergei Prokopyev of Roscosmos were set to greet the trio on arrival at the ISS.
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