A Russian spacecraft carrying a trio of US, German and Russian spacefarers docked at the International Space Station on Friday after a two-day trip from the Baikonur launch facility in former Soviet Kazakhstan.
Alexander Gerst of Germany, Serena Aunon-Chancellor of the United States and Sergei Prokopyev of Russia have embarked on a six-month mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, 400 kilometres above the Earth.
The crew had to wait for the air pressure of their Soyuz spacecraft to be equalized with the station's before entering the facility and conducting their initial hygiene routine.
"After two days in the Soyuz, I will be very much looking forward to that," Gerst, affectionately known as Astro Alex, said ahead of the trip.
Following a briefing, the crew was to fetch their sleeping bags and settle into their quarters, said Gerst, a geophysicist and vulcanologist.
Gerst, doctor Aunon-Chancellor and fighter pilot Prokopyev were to collaborate on various research projects during their mission.
The station is tasked with performing scientific research that would be impossible on Earth. It has been mostly a collaboration between US and Russian space crews during its decade and a half of continuous operation.
Gerst was previously aboard the station four years ago and is now a co-pilot, with greater responsibility than when he was an on-board engineer last time. He is scheduled to take command of the station for three months, starting in October.
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