BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — A Soyuz space capsule delivered an American astronaut making his first space flight and a veteran Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station on Thursday.
NASA’s Jack Fischer and Russia’s Fyodor Yurchikhin lifted off from the Russia-leased launch facility in Kazakhstan at 1:13 p.m. Thursday (0713GMT, 3:13 a.m. EDT). They reached orbit about nine minutes later, a moment illustrated when a small white stuffed dog hanging from a string in the capsule began to float.
About six hours later, they docked at the orbiting outpost.
Fischer and Yurchikhin join a crew commanded by NASA’s Peggy Whitson. The others at the station are Russia’s Oleg Novitskiy and France’s Thomas Pesquet.
The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday. On that day, Wilson, who on a previous mission became the first woman to command the International Space Station, will break the U.S. astronaut record for the most cumulative time in space. Jeffrey Williams currently holds the 534-day record.
At 57, Whitson also is the oldest woman to have been in space. She is scheduled to return to Earth in September.
Fischer and Yurchikhin, making his fifth space flight, will spend more than four months aboard the orbiting station before also returning to Earth in September.
There will be more action for SpaceX and the Kennedy Space Center as the United States continues to work on a more business related space program.