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Three New Crew Members Arrive At International Space Station


Three new crew members have boarded the International Space Station (ISS) after a two-day trip from Earth.

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, Norishige Kanai of Japan, and U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle of NASA, traveling aboard their Soyuz spacecraft, docked with the orbital outpost on December 19.

A commentator on NASA TV called it a "textbook arrival" at the space station, which was about 250 miles above Italy when the docking took place.

Russian space agency Roscosmos confirmed that the Soyuz MS-07 had "successfully docked" at the ISS.

The new crew members joined Russia's Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba on the station, which has been orbiting the planet since 1998.

They arrived five days after Sergei Ryazansky of Roscosmos, NASA's Randy Bresnik, and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli of Italy left the station and landed in Kazakhstan.

It is the first space voyage for flight engineers Tingle and Kanai. Shkaplerov, the flight commander, has spent a year in space over two previous missions.

The trio lifted off from the Russian-rented Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan on December 17.

NASA stopped conducting its own manned launches to the ISS in 2011.

But the U.S. space agency has taken steps to increase the number of crew aboard the U.S. section of the ISS to four, while Russia cut its crew complement to two in a cost-saving measure announced in 2016.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and Interfax
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