Moscow: A Russian spaceship carrying a new international crew docked with the International Space Station (ISS) Friday.
The Soyuz TMA-12M brought Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev and American astronaut Steve Swanson to orbit.
"The spaceship moored at the docking assembly of the Russian module Poisk (MIM-2) at 3.53 a.m. in an automatic mode," an official at the Flight Control Centre (FCC) outside Moscow told ITAR-TASS.
The new crew floated through open hatches into the orbital station at 6.47 a.m. and were welcomed aboard by Mikhail Tyurin, Koichi Wakata, and Richard Mastracchio.
All the crew members are feeling well, the FCC official said, addding that the ISS crew has grown up to six and all will be working together aboard the station until May.
The ISS mission will now work in orbit for 169 days during the course of which the crew will receive several resupply spacecraft and carry out extensive scientific research, which includes 49 experiments under the Russian programme and about 170 under the American one.
Besides, during a spacewalk scheduled for August, the Russian cosmonauts will launch a Peruvian mini-satellite.
The spaceship Soyuz TMA-12M was launched from Baikonur March 26 at 1.17 a.m. Moscow time. Originally, it was expected that the crew would be brought to the ISS in accordance with a short six-hour period.
However, due to complications that arose in the operation of the spaceship`s orientation system, a decision was made to switch over to a 48-hour period for docking.
In the history of the operation of the ISS, the first manned spaceship`s flight according to a shortened six-hour period was made in March 2013 when the Soyuz TMA-08M delivered Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin and American astronaut Christopher Cassidy to the orbital station.