Leaving political tensions back down on earth, Russian, American and German crew members have boarded the International Space Station for a six month mission.
The ISS, a project of 15 nations, is overseen by the United States and Russia but there were no signs of their dispute over Ukraine as control room staff, crew and families celebrated the trio’s safe arrival.
When asked at a pre-launch press conference if escalating tensions were having any impact on their mission, the three men simply hugged each other.
Their journey took less than six hours after blasting off on a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan.
Perched on top of the rocket was a capsule holding cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, a retired Russian Air Force colonel; NASA astronaut and US Navy pilot Reid Wiseman; and German astronaut and geophysicist Alexander Gerst.
Their arrival boosts the ISS crew to six.
After retiring its own Space Shuttle fleet in 2011, the US has relied on Soyuz spaceships to deliver crews to the research laboratory.
The political rancour may be having some impact on the space
partnership however, with Russian officials saying they won’t back a US proposal to keep the ISS operating beyond 2020.