The Soyuz TMA-05M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Almaty - A Soyuz spaceship carrying Russian, Japanese and US astronauts blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday.

Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Nasa astronaut Sunita Williams launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-05M rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0240 GMT (2240 EDT on Saturday).

The trio are scheduled to berth early on Tuesday, joining Nasa Flight Engineer Joseph Acaba and two Russian cosmonauts, Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, aboard the ISS, a $100 billion research complex orbiting about 240 miles (385km) above Earth. - Reuters