|Soyuz delivers crew of three to International Space Station|
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The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft approaches the International Space Station’s Rassvet module for docking Friday. Credit: NASA TV
Two days after launch fr om Kazakhstan, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying a crew of three wrapped up a problem-free rendezvous Friday, docking at the International Space Station’s Earth-facing Rassvet port less than a week after three other crew members departed.
With Soyuz MS-09/55S commander Sergey Prokopyev at the controls, the ferry ship’s docking mechanism engaged its space station counterpart at 9:01 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) as the two spacecraft sailed 253 miles above the Pacific Ocean and the Philippines. Hooks and latches retracted a few moments later, locking the ship in place.
Prokopyev, flight engineer Alexander Gerst and NASA physician-astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor then stood by for another 90-minute trip around the world while flight controllers verified an airtight, structurally sound seal before opening hatches to lab complex.
Standing by to welcome them aboard were Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel, flight engineer Ricky Arnold and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, commander of the Soyuz MS-08/54S ferry ship that carried them into space last March 21.
The first items on the agenda were a traditional video chat with friends and family standing by in Moscow followed by a safety briefing.
She’ll (Auñón-Chancellor) have a full six months to find out. Feustel’s crew is scheduled to return to Earth Oct. 4 while Auñón-Chancellor and her crewmates plan to remain aloft until Dec. 13.