Three crew members representing the United States, Russia and France are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:20 p.m. EST Nov. 17, 2016 (2:20 a.m. Nov. 18, Baikonur time).
Soyuz spacecraft launches to International Space Station carrying three crew members.
This time around, Whitson lifted off with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
A multinational crew, including a U.S. astronaut who is the oldest and most experienced woman to fly in space, blasted off from Kazakhstan yesterday for the International Space Station, where it should arrive in two days, a Nasa TV broadcast showed.
The Soyuz MS -03 spaceships was carried aloft the Soyuz-FG rocket booster which blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan which has been leased by Russian Federation and earlier by the erstwhile Soviet Union.
The new ISS crew members look forward to their shared experience conducting research onboard the orbiting lab with its worldwide crew.
The Expedition 50 crew will spend more than four months conducting research biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
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Novitskiy, 45, is making his second spaceflight.
Whitson, in February, will become the first woman to command the space station twice. Previously, 55-year-old Barbara Morgan held the record for the oldest woman to travel to space.
Reuters notes that one of the crew, NASA's Peggy Whitson, is the most experienced woman to fly in space.
Whitson still has a long way to go to break the overall records for age and time in space.
Three cargo craft will deliver several tonnes of food, fuel, supplies and research to the crew members at the space station.
By the time Ms Whitson returns to Earth in six months, she will have accumulated more time in orbit than any other USA astronaut, surpassing the 534-day record set in September by astronaut Jeff Williams.
The trio are expected to arrive at the space station, that flies about 250 miles (420km) above the Earth, on Saturday 19 November - joining an American and two Russians astronauts already there.