American, Russian cheered as they reach Intl Space Station

The duo was expected to reach the station in their Russian-designed Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft about six hours after the launch.

A Soyuz space capsule has blasted off for the International Space Station, carrying an American astronaut making his first space flight and a veteran Russian cosmonaut.

The rookie astronaut will be sharing the station with two seasoned veterans, a Russian cosmonaut on his second flight and a first-time French flier.

When she returns to Earth with Yurchikhin and Fischer on September 3, she will have logged 666 days in space during three missions, moving her up to eighth in the world, one spot behind Yurchikhin, who will have logged 672 days aloft over his five missions. "I know I speak for Fyodor when I say if we could figure out how to fit [our wives] Larisa and Elizabeth in that seat, that is who we would take with us".

The other notable aspect of Thursday's launch is the size of the crew-two rather than three.

Yurchikhin has made four previous space flights. Before docking to the Station, they orbited Earth 4 times. About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz capsule and station opened.Fischer, on his first space voyage, and Yurchikhin floated into the waiting arms of station commander Peggy Whitson and her crew.

The 57-year-old station commander, Peggy Whitson will beat 534 -day record of the United States astronaut for cumulative time spent at the station.

Yurchikhin and Fischer's mission at the station lasts until September.

The two launched aboard a Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. (1:13 p.m. Baikonur time), orbited Earth four times, and docked at the space station. Two crew members, though, are now breaking the record: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (photo) and Roscosmos cosmonaut, Mikhail Kornienko.

She will be called by President Donald Trump. Whitson, who has been on the space station since November 19, is also the first woman to command the space station twice, and has conducted the most spacewalks of any female astronaut. He told her not to worry, "Mum, it's like me being in Texas, depending on where we are going around the Earth, I'll be just as close", he said.

  • Tracy Ferguson