Three crew members of a mission that launched from Russia two days ago arrived and safely docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday. The crew docked their Soyuz TMA-22 capsule with the ISS a few minutes ahead of schedule while in an orbit 399km (284mi) above the Pacific ocean.
The arrival of the three-member crew returns a full six-person crew to the ISS, at least temporarily, until the current crew returns to Earth later this month. The ISS will again have a full compliment of crew with the arrival of a new crew in late December.
NASA TV showed the arrival of the crew with Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa, Russia’s Sergei Volkov, and America’s Mike Fossum, embracing the new arrivals.
Veteran American astronaut Daniel Burbank, 50, is taking over command of the station, while cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, 39, and Anatoly Ivanishin, 42, are making their first space voyage.
Russia hopes the current textbook docking will help restore its reputation after the delay of the current mission and the probable recent loss of its $165m Phobos-Grunt probe which has been stuck in orbit for a week.