Washington: Three crew members- NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, after a two-month launch delay.
The new crew members representing the United States, Russia and Japan joined their Expedition 44 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at 12:56 a.m. EDT Thursday.
Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos, as well as Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.
Lindgren, Kononenko and Yui launched from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:02 p.m. ETD Wednesday (3:02 a.m., Thursday, July 23, and docked at the space station 10:45 p.m EDT, less than six hours later to begin a five-month mission aboard the station.
The crew will support several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science - research that impacts life on Earth.
According to NASA, the trio will remain aboard the station until late December.
Kelly and Kornienko, who have been aboard since March 27, will return to Earth in March 2016 at the end of their one-year mission, whereas Padalka, who also has been aboard since March 27, will return to Earth in September.
Padalka's return will leave Kelly in command of Expedition 45. Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth in March 2016 with Expedition 46 after 342 days in space.