GREENBELT, Md., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A Soyuz capsule carrying three new crew members for the International Space Station has successfully docked with the orbiting laboratory, officials said.
NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and European astronaut Paolo Nespoli docked at the space station at 3:12 p.m. EST Friday following a two-day orbital journey after the trio launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Dec. 15, SPACE.com said.
Their arrival fills the station's existing Expedition 26 crew of station commander Scott Kelly of NASA and flight engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka of Russia, who launched to the station on Oct. 7.
Coleman, Kondratyev and Nespoli will spend five months in the station participating in a number of research experiments.
"Now that we have a six-person crew, we're going to try to average 30 hours a week on various types of science," station commander Scott Kelly said. "Hopefully we'll have great results from the scientific experiments that we're able to do on board."
The space station will host the last two space shuttle missions early next year, as Discovery, set to launch in early February, and Endeavor, scheduled to lift off in April, will delivers supplies and scientific equipment.