Tim Peake, the first official British astronaut to travel to the International Space Station, on Tuesday docked with the orbiting laboratory with two other spacemen, to cheers and excitement back home.
Peake, 43, joins Russian space veteran Yury Malenchenko and Tim Kopra of NASA for a six-month mission onboard the ISS.
Their launch from the Moscow-operated Baikonur cosmodrome went according to plan, but after their six-hour journey the astronauts docked with the ISS manually due to a technical glitch, a spokesman for the Russian space agency said.
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"The commander switched to manual control and everything went well," the spokesman told AFP, adding they docked with the ISS at 1733 GMT.
"It was great to watch Tim Peake blast off on his mission to join the International Space Station," British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter.
His spokeswoman said the British cabinet had hailed Peak's mission as "an inspiration for people up and down the country, particularly young people and children looking to study science".
Queen Elizabeth II's official Twitter account @BritishMonarchy retweeted the UK Space Agency saying "We have liftoff! @astro_timpeake is on his way to space!#GoodLuckTim, the #UK is with you!"
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Fire from the boosters of the Soyuz rocket cut a bright light through the overcast sky at the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as the spacecraft launched on schedule at 1103 GMT.
"Don't Stop Me Now" by the rock group Queen was blaring in the Soyuz roughly half an hour before blastoff as the astronauts listened to their favorite music in preparation for the mission.
Former army major Peake -- a European Space Agency flight engineer -- begins a 173-day mission at the orbiting research outpost along with Malenchenko and 52-year-old Kopra.
Malenchenko, who will celebrate his 54th birthday aboard the ISS next week, has already logged 641 days in space, while Kopra has chalked up 58.
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'Quite emotional' Peake's mission has generated excitement in Britain.
Crowds gathered in the Science Museum in London to witness the launch, with thousands of people including around 2,000 schoolchildren breaking into screams and waving British flags as giant screens showed the rocket blasting off.
The Chichester Observer, local paper in Peake's hometown, quoted his former physics teacher Mike Gouldstone as saying: "This is every physics teacher's dream, to have had a future astronaut in front of you.
"It is all quite emotional for me."