IMAGESRussia's Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut on board blasts off to the International Space Station from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Ryzhikov will become the commander when Expedition 64 begins October 21 and Cassidy, Vagner and Ivanishin will depart for Earth.
Capture of the Soyuz capsule was confirmed at 4:48 a.m. EDT. The six crew members will serve together for seven days before Cassidy, Evaneshin and Wagner return to Earth aboard the Soyuz MS-16, leaving Robins, Regikov and Cod-Sverhkov to begin Expedition 64.
Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are scheduled to spacewalk to prepare for the disposal of the Russian Pirs docking station and the addition of the multipurpose Nauka ("Science") laboratory unit.
According to NASA, Rubins became the first person to sequence DNA in space during her first spaceflight in 2016. The Pirs Unit was first added to the space station in 2001.
The U.S. space agency in 2014 contracted Elon Musk's SpaceX and Boeing Co BA.N to build competing space capsules in an effort to reclaim NASA's launch independence. It follows a successful Demo-2 mission earlier this year.
Roscosmos said "a new record for flights to the International Space Station was set - the total time from launch to docking of the Soyuz MS-17 was three hours and three minutes".
As per reports, this is also being reported as the last Russian flight to carry a USA crew member.