Three astronauts blast off to International Space Station
Members of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station, Russia's cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky (L) and US astronaut Peggy Whitson wave as they walk to board the rocket at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Baikonur

A trio of astronauts soared into orbit aboard a Soyuz spacecraft Friday as they headed to the International Space Station for a six-month mission.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, Russia's Oleg Novitsky and NASA's Peggy Whitson blasted off at 2:20 am local time Friday (2020 GMT Thursday) from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and are expected to dock at the orbital laboratory at the weekend.