On November 23, 2014 at 21:01 UTC (on November 24 at 00:01 Moscow time) the Russian “Soyuz TMA-15M” spacecraft was launched from Baykonur Cosmodrome. The space vehicle was orbited by the Russian “Soyuz-FG” rocket-carrier. The spacecraft is piloted by 3 cosmonauts: Commander, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (center); flight-engineer, Italian astronaut Samantha Christoforetti (right); American astronaut Terry Virts (left).
Photo by Russian Cosmonaut training center.
The space vehicle is to dock with the International Space Station on November 24. Shkaplerov, Christoforetti and Virts will join current ISS expedition members Samokutyaev, Serova and Wilmore.
Samantha Christoforetti is the first female astronaut from Italy. ESA astronaut Cristoforetti is a native of Milan, Italy – and was assigned to the Futura mission more than two years ago. She has logged over 500 hours in military aircraft and is now a captain of the Italian air force.