Russia will launch 3 cosmonauts to the International Space Station today. Here's how to watch.

Three Russian cosmonauts will launch toward the International Space Station on Friday (March 18), and you can watch the action live.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov is scheduled to lift off atop a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Friday at 11:55 a.m. EDT (1555 GMT). 

You can watch it live here at Space.com courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency (opens in new tab). Coverage will start at 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT).

Related: Russia's invasion of Ukraine as seen in satellite photos

Here is a Russian-language feed of the launch from Russia's Roscosmos space agency:

It'll be a quick trip to the orbiting lab for the Russian trio; their Soyuz is scheduled to dock with the station's Prichal module at 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT) on Friday, just three hours after launch. You can watch the milestone live beginning at 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT). You can also tune in for a hatch opening ceremony, which is expected to take place around 5:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT).

Russia has launched many Soyuz vehicles to the space station over the years, but Friday's mission is hardly commonplace. It will be the first launch that Russia has conducted since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, an action that has frayed many of Russia's space partnerships.

The United States and other countries imposed new economic sanctions on Russia after the invasion, some of which affect the nation's space program. As a result, Russia's federal space agency, Roscosmos, stopped selling Russian rocket engines to American companies and halted Soyuz launches from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, among other measures.

Despite the rising tensions, NASA officials stress that International Space Station operations are continuing as usual. Russia is a key partner in the space station program, and its cooperation continues to be essential, U.S. officials say.

For example, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei has long been scheduled to return to Earth on March 30 with two cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz. And that remains the plan, NASA officials said last week.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).  

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.