A Soyuz-FG rocket bearing a Soyuz TMA-18 piloted spacecraft blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday morning from Russia's Baikonur space centre.
The spacecraft will deliver members of ISS Expedition 23 - Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko and U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson - to the orbital station on April 4.
Docking is planned for 9:26 a.m. Moscow time (05:25 GMT).
The ISS was successfully moved to a higher orbit on March 24 to facilitate the docking of the Soyuz craft with the station.
The TMA-18 mission will be the 105th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft since the start of the program in 1967.
The spacecraft will most likely remain docked to the space station for the remainder of Expedition 23 to serve as an emergency escape vehicle.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, U.S. astronaut Timothy Creamer, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi are currently working on board the ISS.
BAIKONUR, April 2 (RIA Novosti)