Two Americans, a Russian and an Emirati left together for the International Space Station ISS. The four astronauts started on Thursday aboard a "Crew Dragon" from Elon Musk's private space company SpaceX from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome in the US state of Florida, as shown by live images from the US space agency Nasa.
This is the repeated time since the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine around a year ago and the resulting immense tensions between the USA and Russia, astronauts from both countries flew into space together. The start was actually planned for Monday, but had to be canceled at short notice and postponed due to problems with the ignition system.
Stephen Bowen, Warren Hoburg, Andrei Fedyaev and Sultan al-Niyadi are expected to stay on board the ISS for around six months. Hoburg, Fedjajew and Al-Nijadi fly into space for the first time, for Bowen it is the fourth space flight.
On board the ISS, the four astronauts will meet their colleagues Sergei Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata and Anna Kikina. "Crew-5" - Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina - is scheduled to fly back to Earth a few days after "Crew-6" arrives.
The return of Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio was delayed because a leak was discovered in the Soyuz capsule that brought them to the ISS in September. According to experts, it was caused by the impact of a micrometeorite. That's why a replacement spacecraft arrived at the ISS over the weekend, with which the three should probably return to Earth in September - instead of March as originally planned.