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US-Russian crew blasts off to International Space Station

U.S. astronauts Nick Hague, a members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), interacts with his relatives from a bus prior to the launch launch of the Soyuz FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The new Soyuz mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled on Thursday, March. 14. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — A Russian-American crew of three has blasted off to the International Space Station, making a second attempt to reach the outpost after October’s aborted launch.

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch along with Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as planned from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:14 a.m. Friday (1914 GMT Thursday). They are set to dock at the space station in about six hours.

On Oct. 11, a Soyuz that Hague and Ovchinin were riding in failed two minutes into its flight, activating a rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely. That accident was the first aborted crew launch for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch pad explosion.

The Associated Press