Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls: CLICK photo to view full size and see below for many of his links and a video of the launch.

With this week’s launch of 3 astronauts(s)-cosmonaut to the International Space Station onboard TMA-11M (ISS 37) there are some key points I don’t want to miss here. First, look how beautiful this machine was, I get so used to seeing the old Soyuz in its usual colors and when I saw this beautiful shot by Bill Ingalls; NASA’s Senior Photographer I was beside myself.

The Soyuz was dressed for success like this because the Winter Olympics will be taking place in Sochi, Russia in 2014. The colors represent the Olympic Games as well as the winter season. Onboard the Soyuz was also a special treat; a modified (flameless) Olympic Torch that will be carried into space during a November 9th spacewalk for a hopeful photo op with the torch floating above the Earth. That spacewalk will be aired on NASA TV starting at 1400 UTC or 0900 EST. Here’s the link It will then be returned to Earth Sunday when cosmonaut Yurchikhin and astronauts Nyberg and Parmitano depart the ISS.

One last point to make with this flight; when Koichi Wakata of JAXA becomes Commander of Expedition 39 he will be the first Japanese Commander of the International Space Station. Congratulations to him AND Japan as that’s quite an achievement in JAXA’s fairly young space program.

NASA Page on Bill Ingalls:

Bill Ingalls Twitter:

Bill Ingalls on Instagram: @Ingallsimages

Bill Ingalls Flickr:

NASA HQ Flickr:

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