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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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.