Soyuz TMA-15M liftoff to the ISS!

Soyuz TMA-15M has blasted off to the International Space Station with Anton Shkaplerov (Roscosmos), Terry Virts (NASA), and Samantha Cristoforetti (ESA) on board to join the rest of Expedition 42 at the ISS.  This flight lifted off from launch complex 31, instead of the more typical complex 1.  Complex 1 has launched nearly every Soviet/Russian manned spaceflight in history, since it was used in 1961 to launch Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1.  However, like anything, it needs maintenance from time to time.  31 is the usual backup on those occasions. Samantha Cristoforetti is Italy’s first female astronaut ever, and the first female to be sent on a long-duration mission by the European Space Agency.  So today, women make another step forward in spaceflight  😉

Meanwhile, “Frozen” fans may appreciate the choice of ad hoc accelerometer for this flight: the traditional crew-choice item hung from the bungee this time is a little Olaf doll.  There will be warm hugs on the ISS, then.  😉

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