Three astronauts blast off for ISS

Expedition 34 Nasa Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), top, Nasa Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko of Russia wave farewell from the bottom of the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Expedition 34 Nasa Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), top, Nasa Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko of Russia wave farewell from the bottom of the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Baikonur - A Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts blasted off on Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft took off on schedule at 12:12 GMT carrying Russian Roman Romanenko, Nasa astronaut Thomas Marshburn and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, an AFP correspondent said.

"The Soyuz TMA-O7M has separated from the third stage booster rocket and has been brought into the correct orbit," the Russian space agency said in a statement.

The Soyuz spacecraft is due to dock with the ISS on 21 December at 14:12 GMT.

Romanenko, the commander of the Soyuz flight, is going to the ISS for the second time, as is Marshburn, while Hadfield is making his third trip.

Hadfield will take over as commander of the space station, the first Canadian to do so, according to the Nasa website.

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