There are three more men in space Tuesday than there were 24 hours ago. Monday night at 11:01 p.m. EDT, the remaining three members of the Expedition 31 crew launched aboard the Soyuz spacecraft and are now on their way to the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba (@AstroAcaba), as well as Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin will join commander Oleg Kononenko and flight engineers Don Pettit (@Astro_Pettit) and Andre Kuipers, who are already aboard the ISS.
Monday night's launch, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, was preceded by the usual pre-launch activities: the crew signed the door of their crew quarters, were blessed by a Russian Orthodox priest, and said goodbye to their families before getting their suits checked and boarding the spacecraft.
Onboard with the three men, acting as this flight's talisman, was a stuffed Smokey Bear. Traditionally, Soyuz crews fly with a small toy hanging from the top of the crew compartment that acts as a gravity indicator: when the toy floats, the crew's in orbit. (Once it was an Angry Bird!)
If you missed it (or if you didn't and just want to see it again), NASA's posted the video of the launch.
The Soyuz will reach the International Space Station and dock on Wednesday at 12:38 am EDT.