Russia’s manned spacecraft docks with ISS

December 24th, 2011 - 3:05 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Dec 24 (IANS) Russia’s Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft with three astronauts onboard has docked with the International Space Station (ISS), the Mission Control Centre said.

The spacecraft docked with the ISS’ Rassvet mini-research module at 1919 Moscow time (1519 GMT) Friday, Xinhua reported.

The new crew include Russia’s Oleg Kononenko, Andre Kuipers from the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA’s Donald Pettit.

The trio would join Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoli Ivanishin from Russia and Daniel Burbank from NASA at the ISS and spend 147 days in space.

Russian federal space agency Roscosmos said the enlarged ISS crew would conduct 71 scientific experiments as well as a space walk Feb 14.

RIA Novosti said the mission’s programme also includes the docking of five freighters from different states — two Russian Progress spacecraft, the European unmanned cargo resupply spacecraft ATV-003 Edoardo Amaldi and two US freighters.

The Soyuz TMA-03M had blasted off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan Wednesday.

After the retirement of the US shuttle fleet, Russia’s Soyuz has become the only way for astronauts to reach the ISS.

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