By Jeffrey Kluger
December 15, 2015

The sturdiest little cosmic machine ever built is easily Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. The first one was launched in 1966—back when the Americans were flying the Gemini spacecraft—and they’ve been carrying human beings to space ever since.

The next crew to take a Soyuz ride will be astronauts Tim Kopra, of NASA, and Tim Peake of the European Space Agency (ESA), along with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who will blast off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan at 6:03 AM (EST) on December 15. TIME will carry the launch live here.

Watch Live: Astronauts Return to Earth After a Year in Space

Kopra, Peake and Malenchenko are heading to the International Space Station for a six-month stay. They will join astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko, who are already aboard. Kelly and Kornienko are more than halfway through their marathon year in space. TIME’s A Year in Space video series and other in-depth coverage of the mission is available here.

Write to Jeffrey Kluger at jeffrey.kluger@time.com.

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