Russian, American two-man crew blasts off to ISS
By Li Qian

2017-04-20 16:58 GMT+8

4317km to Beijing

A Russian and an American blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday, the first two-man launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in over a decade.
The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft, carrying NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin to the International Space Station, shot into the sky at 0713 GMT. 
The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft carrying Jack Fischer of the US and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Russia, blasts off to the ISS from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan April 20, 2017. /Reuters Photo
They are expected to reach the station about six hours after Thursday's launch and join their Expedition 51 crew mates. 
The duo will return to Earth in September after they finish a five-month mission.
Manned launches to the ISS usually involve three crew members. But Russian space agency Roscosmos announced last year that only two cosmonauts would travel to the ISS this time to cut costs before the installation of a new module to expand the Russian section of the orbital lab at the end of 2017 or in early 2018.