A Russian carrier rocket blasted off from a central Asia launching pad on Sunday, sending the crew members for the International Space Station (ISS) and the sixth space tourist.
The Soyuz TMA-13, launched from the Baikonur space center, Kazakhstan, is carrying Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov, NASA astronaut Michael Fincke and American tourist Richard Garriott, son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott and a computer game developer.
U.S. space tourist Richard Garriott gives a thumbs-up after donning his spacesuit at Baikonur cosmodrome October 12, 2008. [Xinhua/Reuters Photo]
The Soyuz is to dock with the ISS at 12:33 p.m. Moscow time (2033 GMT) on Tuesday and the crew will move into the ISS in about one hour.
Garriott will stay in the ISS for ten days and return to the Earth together with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononeko and Sergei Volkov. Lonchakov and Fincke will continue their mission together with NASA's Gregory Chamitoff.
There have been so far six paid visitors to the ISS since California businessman Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist in May 2001 at a price of 20 million U.S. dollars, or 1,800 dollars per minute, for an eight-day trip.