At 1112 GMT on 6 June 2011 a Soyuz FG rocket took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam, Kazakhstan. The crew aboard the Soyuz MS-09 (ISS-55S) spacecraft consisted of  Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, NASA Astronaut Dr Serena Aunon-Chancellor and ESA Astronaut Dr Alexander Gerst.

Launch of Soyuz MS-09 carrying three crew to ISS. Courtesy: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The Soyuz MS-09 will conduct a two day approach and rendezvous before docking with the International Space Station. The slower two day approach was used due to the requirement of ensuring a successful undocking and daytime landing for the Soyuz MS-07 crew which took place on 2 June. It was not possible to wait for the repositioning of the ISS for the shorter four orbit/six hour rendezvous.

Updated on 8 June 2018: Soyuz MS-09 docked with ISS Rassvet port at 1301 GMT on 8 June 2018.

David Todd contributed to this story