An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts have blasted off to the International Space Station.
The trio lifted off late on Thursday night from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a new model of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka are set to take up long-term posts as members of the station's Expedition 25 crew.
The new station crew is set to dock at the orbiting outpost's rooftop Poisk module on Saturday. They will join the outpost's existing Expedition 25 crew station commander Doug Wheelock of Nasa and flight engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin of Russia and Shannon Walker of Nasa.
During their mission, the crew will participate in a wide array of research, including fundamental physics, biometric experiments and investigations of crystal growth in space, as well as education outreach.