A Russian Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft carrying a three-man crew and a symbolic torch for next year’s Sochi Winter Olympic Games on Thursday docked with the International Space Station.
“The docking was carried out on schedule in automatic mode,” a spokesman for Russia’s Roscosmos space agency reported.
The hatches between the Soyuz TMA-11M and the ISS opened at about 04:40 pm Moscow time (12:40 GMT) and the new crew members floated into the station.
A Soyuz-FG rocket and the Soyuz-TMA capsule with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin of Russia, NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio and JAXA astronaut Koici Wakata blasted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan some six hours ago.
Russian cosmonauts Kotov and Ryazansky are scheduled to take the Olympic torch on a spacewalk on Saturday.
The torch will remain at the orbital station for five days. It is due to be brought back to the Earth by Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano, who will depart the ISS on board the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft on November 11.
Image credit – Roscosmos