Watch astronauts blast off to the International Space Station

Watch: Astronauts launching to International Space Station

Watch: Astronauts launching to International Space Station

Rather than dismantling the space station, the memo said, the plan was to "expand global and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit".

The Soyuz rocket launched at 6:12 a.m. from a facility in Kazakhstan.

The three spacemen blasting off into space are NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, and German astronaut Alexander Gerst.

NASA TV will feature live streaming coverage of the docking process, as well as the hatch opening and welcoming process, beginning at 8:15 a.m. Friday. Already aboard the space outpost are NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, as well as Oleg Artemyev of Russia's Roscosmos.

"The crew will spend more than five months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development", according to NASA.

On Friday, June 8, NASA will again focus on the astronauts approaching the space station.

Russian astronaut Anton Shkaplerov, Norishige Kanai of Japan and American Scott Tingle will end their 168 day mission, handing over command to the Expedition 56 crew.

The U.S. space agency will launch Expedition 56 aboard a Soyuz MS-08 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

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