Astronaut Kanai set for start of 6-month mission aboard ISS

Astronaut Kanai set for start of 6-month mission aboard ISS

The Soyuz MS-07 capsule carries Russian astronaut Anton Shkaplerov and his USA colleague Scott Tingle and Japanese colleague Norishige Kanai.

The carrier took off Baikonur at 10:21 Moscow time.

At the Station, the crew will work with Progress MS cargo ships, with the U.S. Dragon spacecraft, will make scientific research and experiments and will have a few spacewalks.

Docking is expected on Tuesday at 0843 GMT.

This is the first space mission for Kanai, 41, formerly a diving medical officer with the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

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The former Russian military pilot has spent exactly a year in space over two missions and will mark his birthday in orbit for the third time in February next year.

Three astronauts blasted off from a port at Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday bound for the Interntional Space Station, NASA announced.

Vande Hei, Acaba and Misurkin are scheduled to remain aboard the station until February 2018, and Tingle, Shkaplerov and Kanai are scheduled to return to Earth in April, the United States space agency said.

Earlier this week the mechanical engineer tweeted a photo of a rosy dawn emerging over the frosty Kazakh steppe in Baikonur as he prepared for his debut mission. The three will join Russia's Alexander Misurkin and Joe Acaba and Mark Vandde Hei of NASA, who have been aboard since September. This time, the Soyuz will reach the ISS two days after launch due to various factors including oribatal adjustments.