A Russian Soyuz rocket is readying for a late-Sunday blastoff, in a mission that will take one American NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts and on a delayed trip to the International Space Station.
The trip marks the first manned launch since NASA's space shuttle program was retired this year, and it will take shuttle veteran Daniel Burbank, Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov and board engineer Anatoly Ivanishin to the station with an ETA of 12:33 a.m. EST on Wednesday, according to NASA.
The craft was originally scheduled to take off Sept. 22, but the flight was delayed after an unmanned Progress cargo ship malfunctioned Aug. 24. The problem was one that could also affect the Soyuz rocket, so it was imperative that it be fixed before sending humans into space.
A Progress spacecraft was launched successfully Oct. 30, after the issue was addressed.
Images from Soyuz missions offer breathtaking glimpses from far above the Earth, and this slideshow compiles a number of photographs from the preparations for the upcoming launch, ones from the ISS itself and images of previous Soyuz missions.