ISS welcomes three new astronauts | News | DW | 29.05.2013
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ISS welcomes three new astronauts

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three astronauts has successfully docked at the International Space Station. The team made the journey in just six hours, slashing the usual two-day travel time thanks to a new method.

epa03694409 (FILE) A file undated handout image from NASA T.V. released on 20 May 2011 and taken by one of the crew members aboard the space shuttle Endeavour shows the International Space Station (ISS) as the two spacecraft were preparing to link up in Earth orbit. Reports state on 10 May 2013. Astronauts might have to step outside the International Space Station at the weekend to repair a leaking cooling system on the Earth-orbiting spacecraft, Russia's Interfax news agency reported 10 May 2013. The US space agency said in a statement that the leak was no danger to the six-member crew, who noticed floating white ammonia, which runs in loops to cool the spacecraft's power system. NASA said it was developing plans to reroute power lines to maintain full operation should the loop shut down. EPA/NASA T.V./HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** Local Caption *** 00000402743447 +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Kühlsystem der ISS hat ein Leck

The spacecraft carrying one American, one Italian and one Russian docked at the International Space Station (ISS) Wednesday, six hours after blasting off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

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Soyuz docks at ISS

They will spend the next six months conducting a variety of experiments including several spacewalks. NASA said a spacewalk would be a first by an Italian astronaut.

The new crew consists of Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency, US astronaut Karen Nyberg for NASA and Italy's European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.

The Soyuz took a shortcut that slashed the travel time from the usual 48 hours to just six hours, thanks to a special orbit that catapults the astronauts directly toward their destination.

After one such trip was successfully completed earlier this year, Russia decided to repeat it with the aim of making it the new way to reach the ISS.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, Russian astronauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin greeted the newcomers upon their arrival, bringing the total of astronauts on board to six.

Since NASA closed down its US shuttle programe in 2011, Russia's Soyuz craft have been the only means of human transport to the space station.

The ISS is the largest orbiting outpost ever built and consists of more than a dozen modules built by the US, Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency.

hc/mz (AP, AFP)

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