The new Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft that had blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday (6 July) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan docked at the space station on Saturday, 9 July morning at 12.06am EDT, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) said. The spacecraft successfully delivered the three crew members aboard it, who met three other astronauts from Expedition 48 on board the space station when the hatches of the two spacecrafts opened at 2:50am EDT.
Both Nasa and Soyuz officials live streamed the Soyuz crew's arrival at the ISS and their docking. They also live streamed updates about their meeting and the activities the crew will undertake thereafter.
The Soyuz spacecraft carried Nasa astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) who are members of Expedition 48-49. Expedition 48 crew comprises commander Jeff Williams of Nasa and flight engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, who were docked at the space station in March. The Soyuz crew members will remain at the orbital station until late October, while the other three members will return to Earth in September.
Before docking at the ISS, the Soyuz crew were scheduled to spend two days in space to test modified systems. All the crew members will now spend the coming months at the space station conducting more than 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development, Nasa said.
"In the coming months, the crewmates are scheduled to receive multiple cargo resupply flights delivering several tons of food, fuel, supplies and research. SpaceX's ninth commercial resupply services mission under contract with NASA is scheduled to launch to the space station no earlier than July 18 at 12:45 a.m," Nasa said in an update on Saturday.