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Saturday 24 February 2018

American and Russian arrive at International Space Station

The rocket takes off from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP)
The rocket takes off from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP)

A Soyuz space capsule has delivered an American astronaut making his first space flight and a veteran Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station.

Nasa's Jack Fischer and Russia's Fyodor Yurchikhin lifted off from the Russia-leased launch facility in Kazakhstan at 1.13pm local time on Thursday, reaching 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.

Mr Fischer and Mr Yurchikhin join Nasa's Peggy Whitson, Russia's Oleg Novitskiy and France's Thomas Pesquet at the station.

The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday. On that day, Ms Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, will have spent 535 days in space - more time than any other American astronaut.

At 57, Ms Whitson also is the oldest woman in space. She returns to Earth in September.

Mr Fischer and Mr Yurchikhin, making his fifth space flight, will spend more than four months aboard the orbiting station before also returning to Earth in September.

Press Association

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