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Russia’s Soyuz sets a new launch record
May 29, 2013, 4:53 pm

[Getty Images]

The astronauts will carry out over 100 research experiments [Getty Images]

Russia’s Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft has docked with the International Space Station (ISS) several minutes ahead of schedule, setting a new launch-to-ISS docking record.

It took just six hours after the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the latest Russian Soyuz to arrive and safely dock with the International Space Station.

“The spacecraft automatically docked with the ISS as scheduled, six hours after the launch. Fortunately, the cosmonauts did not have to switch to the manual docking regime,” spokesman for the Russian space agency Roscosmos was quoted as saying by Ria Novosti.

The commander of the Soyuz Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, and European Space Agency mechanical engineer Luca Parmitano have joined the three-man crew who are already two months into a six-month ISS mission.

The astronauts will carry out over 100 research experiments preparing the station for the delivery of a new Russian laboratory module due in December.

Veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who is on his fourth trip, is charged with overseeing the mission.

Flight engineer Nyberg is on her first flight aboard a Soyuz, though she flew to the ISS on the shuttle Discovery in 2008.

The planned length of the new ISS expedition is 172 days.

Daria Chernyshova