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  •  Three space travelers opened the hatch to their new home on the International Space Station.

    Three space travelers opened the hatch to their new home on the International Space Station. | Photo: @NASA

Published 15 March 2019

NASA  astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and Rocosmos' Alexei Ovchinin launched six hours earlier in the Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

A three-person space crew, with two astronauts from United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and one from Russia's Roscosmos, has finally arrived at the International Space Station Friday. 

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NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and Rocosmos' Alexei Ovchinin launched six hours earlier in the Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Hague and Ovchinin attempted the same launch in October but had to make an emergency landing after an accident sent them plunging towards the Earth. 

Before the successful launch, the astronauts spoke to reporters in a press conference, iterating their optimism. Hague mentioned the botched launch saying, “the events from October only helped to solidify ... and boost confidence in the vehicle to do its job.”

Ovchinin called the launch an "interesting and very useful experience" that "proved the reliability of the emergency rescue system." While both crew members spoke positively after the incident, Ovchinin described feeling "more annoyed than stressed" for not having made it to the space station.

Both NASA and Rocosmos ensured that both crews would be afforded another chance to go to space and commended their efforts, despite the botched launch.

NASA's Anne McClain, Roscosmos' Oleg Kononenko, and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques were already on the space station. The new team will join those already at the Internation Space Station to work on experiments in the fields of biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science. 

McClain is set to participate in the first all-female spacewalk.

Since 2011, the only vehicles transporting crews to the space station have been Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. NASA is hoping to add SpaceX and Boeing to that list.

SpaceX Dragon just completed a six-day test flight that returned Friday. 


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