The three-person crew of a Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft has entered the International Space Station (ISS), transferring aboard the first Arab astronaut to be sent to the Earth-orbiting research laboratory.
The spacecraft approached the ISS late on September 25 after a six-hour journey following liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Aboard the Soyuz craft was Hazzaa al-Mansoori of the United Arab Emirates, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and astronaut Jessica Meir of the United States.
The 35-year-old Mansoori, who will spend eight days on the ISS, is the first Emirati and the first Arab on the orbiting laboratory.
He is scheduled to carry out a series of experiments, conduct several live broadcasts, and hold an Emirati food night wearing traditional national clothing.
Skripochka, Meir, and Mansoori will join a six-member crew on the ISS, putting the space station’s population at an unusually large nine astronauts until October 3, when Mansoori is set to return to Earth with NASA's Nick Hague and Aleksei Ovchinin of Russia.
The ISS has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometers an hour since 1998.