Soyuz spacecraft lifts off with three astronauts for ISS


Update (3:24 p.m. EDT): The Soyuz spaceship carrying NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, as well as Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, successfully reached orbit. The two men will be joined by United States astronaut Christina Koch for lift-off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1914 GMT.

Crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) next mission, Aleksey Ovchinin of Russia, Nick Hague and Christina Koch of the US, pose for a picture during a news conference in Baikonur, Kazakhstan March 13, 2019.

Hague, Koch and Ovchinin joined NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Expedition 59 commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, as well as David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.

The International Space Station has three new crew members. Then on April 8, another pair of crew members will be laying jumper cables in place.

The crew also is scheduled to be onboard during test flights of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which will return human spaceflight launches for space station missions to USA soil. McClain, Saint-Jacques, and Kononenko are expected to return to Earth on June, while Hague, Koch, and Ovchinin will be back by the fall of 2019.

Astronauts to make 2nd attempt to get to space station after launch aborted in October

Riding along with them will be NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, who's slated to perform the first-ever all-female spacewalk on Mach 29.

The liftoff was closely watched after the two men's space journey was cut short in October when a technical problem with their Soyuz rocket triggered a launch abort two minutes into the flight. The next crew launch to the space station in December went on without a hitch.

Ovchinin, who spent six months at the ISS during a previous mission in 2016, also played down the drama of the emergency landing.

A global endeavor, 236 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,500 investigations from researchers in 106 countries.

Koch will serve aboard the International Space Station as a flight engineer for Expedition 59 and 60.