Flames danced against the dawning sky as the International Space Station's first woman commander and team mates were launched successfully from Baikonur Cosmodrome.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, and Russian guest space traveler Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, are on orbit after their Soyuz rocket hurled them into space. Whitson, the incoming Expedition 16 commander, joins NASA's long list of "firsts" for women in space and diversity in space.
Shukor is Malaysia's first space visitor. A doctor, he got his ride as part of a complicated trade involving Malaysia's purchase of Soviet fighter jets. Malenchenko is a space veteran who earlier commanded an expedition.
The spacecraft will dock with the Zarya module about 10:22 a.m. EDT Friday.
Photo: courtesy of NASA