Russian, US astronauts blast off on moon landing anniversary

A Russian space capsule with three astronauts aboard has blasted off for a fast-track trip to the International Space Station.

Saturday’s took place on the 50th anniversary of the day U.S. astronauts landed on the moon.

The capsule entered orbit nine minutes after liftoff from Russia’s launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

It is carrying Andrew Morgan of the United States on his first spaceflight, Russian Alexander Skvortsov on his third mission to the space station and Italy’s Luca Parmitano, who previously flew in 2013.

The capsule is to dock with the International Space Station 6½ hours after liftoff and after just four orbits. Russian Alexey Ovechkin and Americans Nick Hague and Christina have been aboard since March.

The crew patch made for the expedition echoes the one from NASA’s moon mission.