Russia’s Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, Mission Control said.
“The docking was carried out in an automatic mode at the scheduled time according to directions from Earth,” a spokesman for the Mission Control said.
Members of the new crew, including Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japan’s Space Agency (JASA) astronaut Akihito Hoshide, have already opened the passageways between the spacecraft and the ISS.
“The passageways between the freighter and the station have been opened. The ISS newcomers have been warmly greeted by the current residents, Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joe Acaba,” the spokesman said, referring to the ISS’s current crew members who will cooperate with the new team on conducting scientific experiments.
The new crew members are expected to conduct over 30 scientific missions during their stay on board the ISS.
Speaking about their scientific work onboard the station, the astronauts have earlier said that they were interested in biomedical experiments.
For Malenchenko, this is his fifth long-duration spaceflight. Williams and Hoshide visited the ISS once each, traveling on board a U.S. space shuttle. It is their first flight experience with the Soyuz spacecraft.
Russian Soyuz-family spacecraft remain the only means of transportation for crew members to and from the orbital station until at least 2015.