A Russian capsule carried an American into space. The event marked a continuation of the Russian-American partnership in space at a time of high geopolitical tensions.

The spacecraft lifted off from the famous Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Russian cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Sergei Prokopyev for what is expected to be a six-month stay on the International Space Station. Liftoff occurred at 9:54 am ET.

Rubio and his Russian counterparts will team up on the space station with other astronauts from the United States, Russia and Europe. The space station has been continuously manned since 2000.

What mission does the crew have?

They are tasked with maintaining the space station’s hardware and keeping a log of space experiments.

In July, Russia announced that starting in 2024, it plans to withdraw from the International Space Station and end its decades-long partnership with NASA.

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