Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and American astronaut Jack Fischer successfully took off on board the Soyuz MS-04 rocket from Kazakhstan, starting their journey towards the International Space Station (ISS).

The rocket lifted off at 3:13 am EDT/ 7:13 GMT with a rare empty third seat from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. At the time of launch, the ISS was flying about 250 miles over northeast Kazakhstan near the southern Russian border.

The pair will travel on a six-hour course to the ISS and dock at the Poisk module. While Yurchikhin will be travelling for the fifth time to space, Fischer is a first time space flyer. Few days back Fischer made headlines when he said the biggest challenge he faces in his first voyage into space will be learning how to use the station's zero-gravity toilet.

"It's all about suction, it's really difficult," Fischer said in a Nasa interview before launch. "You just can't train for that on the ground, so I approach my space-toilet activities with respect, preparation and a healthy dose of sheer terror."

The astronauts will spend more than four months aboard the orbiting station before returning to Earth in September. Once at the station, they will be welcomed by Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson along with Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of European Space Agency.

The Soyuz spacecraft is carrying 70kgs of food products. The spacecraft has an upgraded navigation system, new communications system and a modernised docking system.

Its launch was initially scheduled for 27 March but was postponed to conduct more safety checks. Watch the videos below to see the take off and the positioning of the rocket in space.