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After launching from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, three astronauts, two Russians and one American, have successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub and US NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara embarked on their journey from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Taking off onboard the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft, the trio entered the ISS precisely at 18:53 GMT, a mere three hours post-launch. “The arrival of three new crew members to the existing seven people already on board for Expedition 69 temporarily increases the station’s population to 10,” NASA remarked following the successful docking.

The Soyuz rocket used to transport astronaut Loral O’Hara and cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko, and Nikolai Chub to the Space Station.

During their stay, the new arrivals will team up with the current ISS team, which includes individuals from Russia, the United States, Japan, and a member of the European Space Agency, showcasing a strong spirit of international cooperation in space. Despite the severe geopolitical strains, particularly underscored by the war in Ukraine, the ISS still stands as a beacon of collaborative efforts. Highlighting this, Kononenko said at a pre-flight press conference, “unlike on earth we hear each other and always take care of each other.” Similarly, O’Hara commended the ISS for continually fostering unity between nations.

More on the space mission:
Regarding the tenure of the newcomers, Kononenko and Chub are slated for a one-year stay, with the mission marking their fifth. Meanwhile, O’Hara will spend six months onboard, celebrating her first space mission. Chub referred to the opportunity as the realization of his “childhood dream” and a life-long ambition.

Notably, by the conclusion of this mission, veteran cosmonaut Kononenko will have spent over a thousand days in space, setting a new record.


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