Soyuz Return-to-Flight Launch Photos: Expedition 58 Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

Soyuz's Return to Flight

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

On Dec. 3, 2018, a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying three members of the Expedition 58 crew to the International Space Station from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is the first flight of a crewed Soyuz since a dramatic launch abort on Oct. 11. (See video of the launch and read our full story here!)See amazing photos from the launch here.In this image, The Soyuz rocket and spacecraft for the Expedition 58 journey were rolled out to the launch pad by train on Dec. 1, 2018, in advance of launch on Dec. 3.



A Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts blasted off on Dec. 3, 2018.

Anne McClain on the Soyuz


NASA astronaut Anne McClain carried a zero-g indicator chosen by her 4-year-old son, a baby dragon being hugged by a Christmas elf.

Soyuz Launch from Space

A. Gerst/ESA

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this incredible image during a crewed Soyuz launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 3, 2018.

Seen from Space!

Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA/Twitter

As a Soyuz rocket launched three Expedition 58 crewmembers to the International Space Station today (Dec. 3), European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst snapped this photo of the launch from on board the orbiting laboratory. This was the first crewed Soyuz mission to launch since the aborted Soyuz MS-10 launch in October.

In Command


Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko took the center seat in the capsule (on the left in this image) during launch on Dec. 3, 2018, accompanied by Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who carried a raccoon toy chosen by his children as his zero-g indicaator.

Expedition 58 Crew Bids Farewell

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The Expedition 58 crew bids farewell to Earth as they wave to well-wishers at the base of their Soyuz rocket. From top, the crew is: Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), top, Flight Engineer Anne McClain of NASA, center, and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos.

Stop for a Selfie

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The trio of astronauts that make up Expedition 58 gathered for a selfie at Baikonur Cosmodrome before their launch to the International Space Station.

At the Launch Pad

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Raising the gantry arms stabilizes the Soyuz rocket and capsule on the launch pad.

Touching Farewells

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques says goodbye to his son during quarantine before his launch to the International Space Station.

We Are Go For Launch


The rocket carrying Expedition 58 blasted off as scheduled at 6:31 a.m. EST (1131 GMT) on Dec. 3, 2018.

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.