A Russian Soyuz rocket delivers a multi-national trio to the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A Russian Soyuz rocket safely delivered a multi-national crew trio to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday (November 23), less than six hours after the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan. A Soyuz capsule holding incoming station commander Terry Virts, with the U.S. space agency NASA, Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov, with the Russian Federal Space Agency, and first-time flier Samantha Cristoforetti, with the European Space Agency, lifted off at 4:01 p.m. EST (2101 GMT). The station, which flies about 260 miles (418 km) above Earth, owned and operated by a partnership of 15 nations, serves an orbiting laboratory for life science, materials research, technology development and other experiments that take advantage of the unique microgravity environment and vantage point of space. The $100 billion research laboratory has been short-staffed since November 9 when Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, European astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA's Reid Wiseman returned home after 5.5 months in orbit. The crew faces a busy six months in orbit, including a trio of spacewalks to prepare the station for a new fleet of U.S. commercial space taxis that are due to begin flying crew to the station in late 2017.