A Soyuz rocket carrying a Franco-Russian team of three cosmonauts lifted off at 0859 GMT Sunday from a launchpad at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, heading for the orbiting International Space Station (ISS), a spokesman at the mission control centre in Moscow said.
The launch of the two-stage rocket proceeded without incident, the spokesman said.
During their 10-day mission, Russians Colonel Viktor Afanasiev and Konstantin Kozeyev and Frenchwoman Claudie Haignere are to deliver a new emergency capsule to the ISS, which is currently manned by a US-Russian team.
Haignere will become the first French astronaut to board the ISS.
The team is due also to carry out a variety of scientific experiments aboard the orbiting platform -- Moscow, (AFP)