The Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft carrying the three new Expedition 35 crew members launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:43 p.m. EDT Thursday and is expected to dock with the ISS at 10:32 p.m., the space agency reported.
Crew flights to the space station typically take at least two days, but the Soyuz capsule is set to arrive at the station after only four orbits of Earth, in what some NASA officials have dubbed an "express" flight.
At 12:10 a.m. Friday the hatches on the spacecraft and the ISS will be opened, and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy will join Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Tom Marshburn of NASA and Roman Romanenko of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, who have been residing in the orbital laboratory since Dec. 21, 2012.
Expedition 35 will operate with a full six-person crew until May when Hadfield, Marshburn and Romanenko return to Earth aboard their Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft.
While on board, the crew will do experiments in human research, biological and physical sciences, technology development, Earth observation and education, NASA said.