Crew members of the International Space Station (ISS), (L-R) US astronaut Kevin Ford, Russian cosmonauts, Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin walk to a bus during a sending-off ceremony in the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome on October 23, 2012 (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images)
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) - A Russian spacecraft has blasted off from a Russian-leased launch pad into a clear Central Asian sky carrying a three-man crew on their way to an orbiting station.
The Soyuz lifted off as scheduled Tuesday afternoon to deliver NASA astronaut Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin to the International Space Station.
After a two-day journey, they will join U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams, Russia's Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide of Japan's JAXA agency.
Of the three men who blasted off Tuesday, only Ford has been on a space flight before. He spent two weeks in space as pilot of the space shuttle Discovery in 2009 on a mission to transport scientific equipment to the International Space Station.