ESA astronaut Frank De Winne started his six-month OasISS mission to the International Space Station with the launch of the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft today at 12:34 CEST (10:34 UT). Watch the launch replay.
De Winne launched to the International Space Station together with Russian cosmonaut Roman Romenenko and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk.
Their arrival at the ISS at 14:36 CEST (12:36 UT) on Friday 29 May will increase the size of the resident Expedition crew from three to six for the first time ever. They will join the crewmembers already on the Station - Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, NASA astronaut Michael Barratt and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.
The launch marks the start of De Winne's OasISS mission which sees him spend six months on the Station, initially as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 20. With a crew rotation due in October, he later takes over as ISS Commander for Expedition 21 - he will be the first European to take on this role.