A Soyuz rocket on Wednesday blasted off carrying two Russian cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut.
The flight was for three hours to the International Space Station, where they are to remain through the first months of 2021.
Ahead of the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the crew, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Russia and Kate Rubins of the United States, spent more than a month in precautionary quarantine and were tested for the coronavirus several times.
“The International Space Station is probably now the safest place to be,’’ Ryshikov said recently, referring to the pandemic on Earth.
Before joining the U.S. space agency, NASA, Rubins worked as a microbiologist and was involved in research on viruses.
This is her second mission to the space station.
Upon arrival, Rubin and her Soyuz seatmates will be greeted by a three person crew that is due to leave the space station later this month.