Three new Expedition 43 crew members are safely aboard the International Space Station today following an early morning launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Strapped inside their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka lifted off at 1:42 a.m. local time (3:42 p.m. Friday EDT, 19:42 p.m. UTC). They pulled into port at the station's Poisk module about four hours later.
Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year aboard the ISS, marking the longest-ever mission for the orbiting laboratory. Padalka will be replaced in September by cosmonaut Sergey Volkov. The one-year mission's primary purpose is to learn more about how humans react to long-duration spaceflight.