A new crew was carried by Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-06 space ship to the International Space Station on Sept 13, 2017. (DIMITRI LOVETSKY / AP)
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, KAZAKHSTAN - Two US astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday, about six hours after their Soyuz spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed.
Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:17 am local time on Wednesday (2117 GMT/1717 EDT on Tuesday). Their spacecraft docked at 8:55 am.
The crew successfully performed a fast-track transit to the station, which orbits about 400 km above Earth, to begin a five-month mission. Failure would have forced the spacecraft to take a two-day route for another attempt at docking.
Misurkin, Vande Hei and Acaba have joined NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Russia's Sergey Ryazanskiy and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency who have been aboard the orbital outpost since July.
To commemorate the upcoming 60th anniversary on Oct 4 of the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, the Soyuz crew used its small model as a zero gravity indicator during the flight on Wednesday.
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-06 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station on Sept 13, 2017. (DIMITRI LOVETSKY / AP)
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-06 space ship blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Sept 13, 2017. (DIMITRI LOVETSKY / AP)
Journalists take photos of the Soyuz-FG rocket booster on Sept 13, 2017. (DIMITRI LOVETSKY / AP)
Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin (center), U.S. astronauts Joseph Acaba (left), and Mark Vande Hei, walk to report to members of the State Committee prior the launch on Sept 13, 2017. (DIMITRI LOVETSKY / AP)