New crew members will join three others at orbital complex for Christmas

An American astronaut, a Russian cosmonaut, and the man who will become Canada’s first space station commander were launched into orbit Wednesday.

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield blasted off aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome Wednesday at 7:12 a.m. ET (6:12 p.m. Baikonur time).

The three spacefliers will join the three men already on the space station to round out the Expedition 34 crew. Marshburn, Romanenko and Hadfield are due to spend about five months in space, and Hadfield will take over control of the station in March when the Expedition 35 mission begins.

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