Three astronauts who launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have entered the International Space Station after spending nearly eight hours in their tiny capsule.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos were greeted upon arrival Monday by the station's current crew members, who had waited outside the capsule's hatch.
The hatch was opened at 1:37 a.m. (1940 GMT; 2:40 p.m. EST) while the station was flying over the southern coast of Yemen.
The three launched into space from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday at 5:31 p.m. (1131 GMT; 6:31 a.m. EST.) They docked with the station at 11:33 p.m. (17:33 GMT; 12:33 p.m. EST.)
The astronauts were the first sent to be sent to the space station since a crewed Soyuz launch was aborted in October after a booster rocket failed to separate properly, crippling the rocket.
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts has successfully docked with the International Space Station following a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan six hours earlier.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos docked with the station at 11:33 p.m. (1723 GMT; 12:33 p.m. EST) Monday.
The crew must wait up to two hours while the latches and seals of the docking port are checked and ground controllers confirm it is safe to open the spacecraft's hatch and join the astronauts already aboard the station.
Stakes were high for Monday's launch, the first to carry a crew since a previous mission to the space station in October was aborted two minutes into the flight after a booster failed to properly separate from the rocket.
Three astronauts have successfully blasted off to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a perfect launch that follows October's aborted mission.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled at 5:31 p.m. (1131 GMT; 6:31 a.m. EST) Monday from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes after the launch and is set to dock at the space outpost in about six hours. NASA and Roscosmos said that all onboard systems were operating normally and the crew was feeling fine.
Space officials breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.
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