Soyuz capsule docks with the ISS delivering new crewmembers

At 1:45 AM EDT this morning, a Soyuz spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the ISS. Aboard the spacecraft are NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The ISS journey lasted approximately three hours and marks the first time a Soyuz crew has taken the fast-track, two-orbit rendezvous path to the ISS.

As of writing, the capsule has docked with the ISS, but the astronauts remain sealed in their capsule as various checks are performed. The new crew members will join Expedition 63 Cmdr. Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. The astronauts currently aboard the ISS will complete their mission and return to earth on October 21, aboard the same Soyuz spacecraft that carried them to the station in April.

NASA notes that the hatches between the capsule and the ISS will open about two hours after docking occurs, allowing the crew members to greet each other. NASA expects the hatch opening to occur at about 6 AM EDT. The new crewmembers will remain aboard the ISS for the next six months.

Space fans can check out a live stream from NASA on YouTube in the video below. NASA is also offering updates via Twitter, including one showing the Soyuz capsule docking with the ISS. Currently, American astronauts have to hitch a ride with the Russian Soyuz capsules to get to the ISS.

That will change in the coming months after SpaceX can send crewed capsules into orbit and to the ISS. SpaceX has already sent a Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS, but it only carried cargo. That mission was a success and paved the way for crewed missions in the future.