Wednesday, April 06, 2011

New Crew Docks At International Space Station

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut docked at the International Space Station tonight, linking up less than a week before the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight.

With Alexander Samokutyaev at the controls, the three space travelers -- including Russian flight engineer Andrey Borisenko and American astronaut Ronald Garan -- moored at the Poisk docking port on the Russian side of the station at 7:09 p.m. -- about nine minutes earlier than scheduled.

"Contact and capture. Docking confirmed," NASA flight commentator Rob Navias said from the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow. "The Garagin spacecraft slips into port at the International Space Station honoring the golden anniversary of the dawn of human spaceflight.

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin rocketed into orbit a half century ago -- on April 12, 1961 -- becoming the first human to fly in space.

Live coverage of a post-docking press conference is about to begin, and a welcome ceremony aboard the station is slated for 10:10 p.m. You can watch both live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right to launch our NASA TV viewer, and refresh this page for periodic updates.

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