American Sunita Williams, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide were blasted into space inside their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft at 8:40 a.m. local time from the Bailonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
They are on their way to the International Space Station for their assignment: ISS Expedition 32 and Expedition 33.
Joining them on the ISS are Expedition 32 commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and flight engineers Joe Acaba of NASA and Sergei Revin of Roscosmos.
The three Expedition 32 crewmembers already onboard will stay with the new crewmembers for about two more months, before returning home on September 17, 2012.
At that time, Expedition 32 commander Padalka will turn over command of the ISS to Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams.
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