|International Space Station crew member Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield waves as he boards the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome on December 19, 2012. (REUTERS/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool)
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield blasted off into space Wednesday aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft along with two other astronauts on a two-day journey to the International Space Station for a five-month mission.
The Russian-built Soyuz TMA-07M lifted off on time, at 7:12 EST, from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with Hadfield, U.S. astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko aboard.
The trio will join U.S. astronaut Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin, who have been manning the $100 billion, 15-nation research complex since October.
Hadfield, 53, will act as co-pilot on the trip to the ISS, and will be a flight engineer aboard the space station until March 2013, when he will take over as commander. He will be the first Canadian commander of the space station.
Hadfield will also be conducting scientific experiments and operating the Canadarm2.
- with files from Reuters
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