Three astronauts aboard a Soyuz spacecraft are due to dock at the International Space Station (ISS) tomorrow after having blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10.40pm EDT Saturday (3.40am Irish time Sunday).
US space agency NASA said the Soyuz TMA-05M rocket had a "smooth ride into space".
NASA flight engineer Sunita Williams, Russian Soyuz commander Yuri Malenchenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency flight engineer Akihiko Hoshide are scheduled to dock their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft to the Rassvet module of the ISS at 12.52am EDT (5.52am Irish time) on 17 July.
The trio will join commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency and flight engineers Joe Acaba of NASA and Sergei Revin of Russia, who have been aboard the orbiting laboratory since 17 May.
The six crew members will work together for about two months, NASA said.
Acaba, Padalka and Revin are scheduled to return to Earth on 17 September, when Williams will take over command of the ISS. She, Malenchenko and Hoshide are to return home in mid-November.