Just a week or so after Expedition 34 left the International Space Station, a new set of crew members have joined the three already on board. Expedition 35 successfully docked to the International Space Station last night at 10:28 pm ET carrying one American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts. The Soyuz capsule launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at around 4:30 pm ET.
This was the first launch in which a manned flight made an “express” route towards the International Space Station, cutting down flight time from around two days to just six hours. Previously, Russian Progress cargo vehicles have made the express flights, but this is the first time that a manned flight has done so.
After docking to the ISS at approximately 10:30 pm ET, the capsule opened its hatch and was welcomed by the ISS at 12:35 am ET. So, in total, it took around eight hours to get from the ground to inside the space station — a full day’s work. The crew joined ISS Commander Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn of NASA, and Roman Romanenko of Roscosmos, who have in been the ISS since December 21, 2012.
There’s a total of six crew members now aboard the ISS, making it slightly more crowded than before, but Hadfield, Marshburn, and Romanenko will return to Earth in May aboard the Soyuz capsule that Expedition 35 came up in last night. Three additional crew members will join Cassidy and cosmonauts in late May. Cassidy, Vinogradov, and Misurkin are scheduled to return to Earth in September.