A Russian Soyuz space rocket was launched today, bringing a Russian, an American and an Italian passenger to the ISS (International Space Station). The rocket will dock with the ISS on Sunday, and will replace the present crew.
The arrival of Krikalev and Phillips signals the end of the six-month mission aboard the ISS for cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and astronaut Leroy Chiao. Along with Italian Roberto Vittori from the European Space Agency, they will return to Earth in 10 days.
For the first time since the space shuttle Columbia disaster in February 2003 NASA will again launch a space shuttle next month to deliver fresh supplies and equipment at the ISS.