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By Denise Chow

Three spaceflyers launched to the International Space Station on Thursday, lighting up the night sky over central Asia.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin rode into orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:14 p.m. ET (12:14 a.m. local time on March 15).

From left, Christina Koch, Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague during training for a trip to the International Space Station.NASA

The trio will now spend six hours journeying to the space station, with an estimated arrival at 9:07 p.m. ET.

This is Koch’s first spaceflight. Hague and Ovchinin were originally scheduled to fly to the space station in October 2018, but a rocket malfunction shortly after launch forced the two to make a harrowing emergency return to Earth.

Hague, Koch and Ovchinin will join NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, who are all already aboard the space station.

On March 29, Koch and McClain are scheduled to conduct NASA’s first all-female spacewalk.

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