A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying South Korea's first astronaut blasted off into space on Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz TMA-12 spaceship disappeared into a clear sky as planned at 5:16 p.m. (1116 GMT) after lifting off from the world's oldest space launch pad, used by Russia's Yuri Gagarin when he became the first human in space in 1961.
Yi So-yeon, a 29-year-old nanotechnology engineer, began her journey to the International Space Station (ISS) alongside Russian cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko.
Originally a reserve candidate, Yi was picked for the flight last month after Russia accused Ko San, the primary South Korean crew member, of removing sensitive documents from a training centre. Ko later apologised for his actions.
The South Korean government paid Russia about $25 million for the right to send the first Korean into space. Along with
her Russian colleagues, Yi will conduct scientific experiments at the ISS during her 11-day mission.