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Soyuz Rocket Launch To ISS Will Transport International Crew For Expedition 39 (LIVE VIDEO)

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The Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft sits on the launch pad after being erected March 23, 2014 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft sits on the launch pad after being erected March 23, 2014 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Prepare for lift-off.

A Soyuz spacecraft is set to transport a special package into orbit on Tuesday: a new three-man crew for the International Space Station.

Scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:17 p.m. EDT, the Russian rocket will ferry to the station U.S. astronaut Steve Swanson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev.

The three remaining members of the Expedition 39 crew will join U.S. astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who have been aboard the ISS since November. Mastracchio, Wakata and Tyurin are slated to return to Earth in May, while the new arrivals will stay aloft until their six-month stay ends in September.

The Soyuz launch to the ISS will be broadcast live online via NASA TV. As Universe Today noted, the crew will take a quick route to the space station and dock the same day at 11:04 p.m. EDT.

NASA officials said the launch would not be affected by recent diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia.

"I think people lose track of the fact that we have occupied the International Space Station now for 13 consecutive years uninterrupted, and that has been through multiple international crises," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said during a press conference earlier this month.

Watch the Soyuz launch live, starting at 4:15 p.m. EDT, above.

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