The three astronauts who left Earth on Wednesday morning to join the rest of the crew in orbit of our planet have safely arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) a few hours ago, NASA reports.
After a two-day journey into outer space, the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft that brought them to the ISS docked with the space station’s Rassvet module today at 9:01 a.m. EDT (13:01 GMT).
As the Inquisitr previously reported, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (ESA), and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos blasted off into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on June 6, at 7:12 a.m. (11:12 GMT).
Their arrival at the ISS was six minutes ahead of schedule, notes Space.com, revealing that this was the first spaceflight for Auñón-Chancellor and Prokopyev.
At the time the Russian Soyuz capsule docked with the space station, “both spacecraft were flying over eastern China,” NASA officials wrote in a blog post.
After “standard pressurization and leak checks,” the astronauts opened the hatches between the ISS and the Soyuz MS-09 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (14:30 GMT). NASA coverage of the event is available in the video below.
The trio will be joining Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos as part of Expedition 56 — slated to last until October when the earlier residents of the orbiting laboratory will be coming home.
“Happiness looks like this,” NASA tweeted earlier while posting footage of Auñón-Chancellor passing through the Soyuz open hatch and inside the space station.
Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst, and Prokopyev will be staying on until December and will go on to be part of Expedition 57 once Feustel, Arnold, and Artemyev leave the space station and another trio of astronauts comes to replace them.
The newcomers themselves are taking over for NASA astronaut Scott Tingle of NASA, Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who ended their mission on June 3 and returned back to Earth.
According to NASA, over the next five months, Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst, and Prokopyev will be taking part in “about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.”
As reported by the Inquisitr, these projects include the groundbreaking quantum physics experiment that is to be performed with NASA’s Cold Atom Lab and the pioneering research conducted with ESA’s unique ICE Cube zero-g laboratory.
Another thing to look forward to is the upcoming spacewalk next week, featuring the now veteran spacewalkers Feustel and Arnold. Scheduled for June 14, their venture outside the shielding walls of the ISS is aimed at upgrading the hardware on the station’s cooling system and installing new communication equipment to help with future docking of resupply vehicles, the Inquisitr reported last month.