A Russian manned spacecraft of the new series Soyuz MS with the crew of a regular expedition to tKhe International Space Station (ISS) on board has docked with the ISS, the Russian Mission Control Center told TASS.
"The docking took place in a normal mode, a bit earlier than the estimated time," the center said. The estimated time was 07:12 Moscow Time, but the docking occurred at 07:06. The new spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan July 7.
The spaceship brought a crew of Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins to the ISS. It is the first spaceflight for Rubins and Onishi and the second one for Ivanishin, who spent 165 days in the ISS in 2011-2012.
Transfer hatches between the Soyuz and the space station will open in a few hours. After that, the three newcomers will join Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.
The Soyuz MS modification has a new command and telemetry system enabling it to use the Luch data relay satellites; it also has other new equipment.
Ivanishin, Rubins and Onishi will conduct 39 experiments in such areas as space biology and biotechnologies. They will also conduct tests under the program of developing new polymeric materials capable of resisting fungal and bacteria colonies.
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