MOSCOW – A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying a crew of three astronauts docked on Tuesday at the International Space Station, according to both Russia’s Mission Control Center and NASA.
The capsule carrying Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai docked at 3:39 am after a two-day flight, NASA said.
“Safely inside their Soyuz spacecraft, the 3 crew members are now docked to Space Station,” tweeted the space agency. “Tune back in at 5 am ET to watch as they open the hatch and enter their new home.”
The trio joined Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, American astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, who have been at the orbital platform since September as part of Expedition 54.
Takeoff had initially been scheduled for Dec. 27, but NASA asked for it to be brought forward so that it did not coincide with the Christmas holidays.
The ISS, a 16-nation project worth more than $150 billion, currently comprises 14 permanent modules and orbits the Earth at a speed of more than 27,000 kpm (16,800 mph).