Russian, U.S. Astronauts Blast Off on Moon Landing Anniversary

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) -
The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, July 20. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov)

A Russian space capsule with three astronauts aboard has blasted off for a fast-track trip to the International Space Station.

Saturday’s launch took place on the 50th anniversary of the day U.S. astronauts landed on the moon.

The capsule entered orbit nine minutes after liftoff from Russia’s launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Russian Space Agency experts help U.S. astronaut Andrew Morgan, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), to stand up after inspecting his space suit prior the launch of Soyuz MS-13 spaceship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, July 20. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)

It is carrying Andrew Morgan of the United States on his first space flight, Russian Alexander Skvortsov on his third mission to the space station and Italian Luca Parmitano.

The capsule is expected to dock with the International Space Station after four obits at 2251 GMT. Russian Alexey Ovchinin and Americans Nick Hague and Christina Koch have been aboard since March.

The crew patch for the expedition echoes the one from Apollo 11’s 1969 lunar mission.