Two astronauts from Belarus and the USA took off to the ISS space station together with a Russian cosmonaut in a Soyuz space capsule. The Soyuz launch vehicle carrying the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft lifted off from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in the steppe of the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan at 1:36 p.m. CET. A first start attempt was aborted on Thursday 20 seconds before the start due to technical problems.

On board were Belarusian cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya, NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky. Space cooperation continues despite US sanctions against Russia and Belarus and despite political tensions between the countries.

For the first time, two women

Vasilevskaya is the first woman in her country to fly into space. It was also the first time that two women flew aboard a Soyuz capsule to humanity’s outpost 400 kilometers above Earth. There has already been a female duo on a Soyuz return from the ISS. This is Dyson’s third flight into space and Nowizki’s fourth.

Vasilevskaya works as a flight attendant for the Belarusian company Belavia. During her two-week stay on the ISS, she will carry out scientific experiments and take spectral images of the Earth’s surface. According to the Russian space agency Roscosmos, she is scheduled to return to Earth with Nowizki and US astronaut Loral O’Hara in the “Soyuz MS-24” at the beginning of April.

Astronaut Dyson will stay on the ISS until September and then begin the journey home with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Tschub. The 59-year-old Kononenko is the record holder for the longest stay on the ISS. By the end of his fifth current stay there, which is planned until September 23rd, Kononenko’s cosmic account will have more than 1,000 days.