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Soyuz TMA-18M with Kazakhstani cosmonaut onboard blasted off from Baikonur (UPDATED)

This is the 500th jubilee launch of the carrier-rocket from the Gagarin’s start at Baikonur. The regular ISS mission consists of Russian cosmonaut-mission commander Sergey Volkov, Danish astronaut-onboard engineer Andreas Mogensen and Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov.

The cosmonauts feel good, the Center for Flights Management says. Soyuz TMA-18M is to dock to the ISS in two days after the launch.

The weather at Baikonur launching site is nice, the temperature of air is +23.

Hundreds of people watched the launch of the spacecraft, including Vice PM Berdybek Saparbayev, heads of Roscosmos and Kazcosmos, European Space Agency and family members of the cosmonauts.

As Aidyn Aimbetov’s spouse Liliya said, they do not accept any congratulations now. “We will be calm only when they arrive at the ISS”, she said. Aidyn’s mother Zhumagul and Sergey Volkov’s father – cosmonaut Alexander Volkov, wives and children of other crew members came to Baikonur to wish them good luck.

Aimbetov and Mogensen are to return to the Earth September 12 together with the current ISS crew member Gennady Padalka. A ceremonial meeting of the crew will be held at the airport of Astana with the participation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Earlier, during a telephone conversation, the Head of State wished the cosmonaut successful trip to the International Space Station and fulfill all the tasks set. The President noted that Aimbetov’s flight to the space is a milestone event which will give a fresh impetus to Kazakhstan’s space development activity and will improve our country’s image at the international arena.

As Kazinform reported earlier, Aimbetov took the national flag of Kazakhstan, the flags of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan and Astana EXPO-2017 aboard.

Aidyn was born July 27, 1972 in Zarya Kommunisma village (Otenay village now) of Taldykurgan region (Almaty region now). In 1989 he was admitted to the Armavir Higher Aviation School and graduated from it in 1993 with “engineer-pilot” qualification conferred upon him. On November 9, 2002 the Interdepartmental Commission of Kazakhstan Government included him into the cosmonauts’ corps of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

On October 12, 2012 by the Governmental Resolution No1304 Aimbetov was conferred the status of the cosmonaut of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In accordance with the agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan Aimbetov passed training at the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Centre at the end of May 2015. From June 20 through June 27, 2015 he was at NASA Johnson Space Centre in Houston (USA) for studying the American section of the ISS.