A spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts has successfully docked at the International Space Station.
The Soyuz TMA-22, with Nasa astronaut Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin on board, docked at the orbiting station several minutes ahead of schedule on Wednesday morning. The three blasted off from a Russian-leased cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday.
The mission’s launch had been delayed for two months following the crash of an unmanned Progress cargo ship in August.
The failed launch raised doubts about future missions to the station, because the rocket that crashed used the same upper stage as the booster rockets carrying Soyuz ships to orbit.
The delay reduced the mission crew to three, American Michael Fossum, Russian Sergey Volkov and Japanese Satoshi Furukawa, who have been on board since June and are scheduled to return to Earth next week.
William Gerstenmaier, Nasa’s associate administrator for space operations, said in a televised news briefing shortly after the docking that “the Russian team did the tremendous job getting the launch and the docking ready”.