Soyuz Blasts Off From Baikonur

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — A Soyuz spacecraft with two Americans and one Russian on board lifted off from Kazakhstan on Sunday for the international space station.

The Soyuz TMA-13 capsule carrying American computer game millionaire Richard Garriott soared into a clear sky atop a Russian rocket as the latest paying space traveler's family watched from a viewing platform. Also aboard were U.S. astronaut Michael Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov.

The rocket lifted off on schedule at 1:01 p.m., sending an orange flare behind it as it streaked upward. The craft entered orbit about 10 minutes later.

"I'm elated, elated," said Richard Garriott's father, Owen, a former U.S. astronaut who is the first American to see his child follow in his footsteps and reach space. "They're in orbit, that's good."

Garriott's mother Eve and his girlfriend, Kelly Miller, shed tears of joy and relief at the successful launch.

"This is cool, this is cool," Miller said.

The Soyuz is to dock Tuesday with the international space station, where Garriott will spend about 10 days conducting experiments and photographing the Earth before returning in a Soyuz capsule with cosmonaut Yury Volkov, whose father also traveled to space.

Garriott dreamed of space as a child but learned as a youth that he could not become a NASA astronaut because of his poor eyesight. He paid a reported $30 million for his voyage.