Though NASA's mighty Saturn V rocket is arguably the most magnificent machine ever built by man, I've always been kinda partial to the old Soviet-designed Soyuz rockets, with their quadruple external boosters and Golden Age of sci-fi aesthetics. Here's the latest iteration of that classic Russian beauty, a fully topped-off Soyuz as it lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a beautiful morning at 10:37 a.m. local time.
Streaking toward the International Space Station, the spacecraft is carrying cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency and Kazakhstan's Aidyn Aimbetov. Their arrival on Friday will temporarily boost the space station's population to nine, a number not reached since late 2013.
Strap in for this soaring liftoff video and salute their mission's success.