Soyuz spacecraft delivers three new astronauts to ISS

Soyuz spacecraft delivers three new astronauts to ISS

An upgraded Russian Soyuz spacecraft made a flawless docking with the International Space Station (ISS) early Friday, successfully delivering three new crew members to the orbiting laboratory.

Carrying flight commander Sergey Ryzhikov, engineer Andrey Borisenko and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough; the Russian Soyuz MS-02/48S spacecraft docked with ISS' upper Poisk module at 5:52 a. m. EDT (GMT-4) more than 250 miles above earth's surface.

The arrival of Ryzhikov, Borisenko and Kimbrough boosted the orbiting lab's crew back to six. Previously in July, a Soyuz spacecraft delivered Anatoly Ivanishin, Takuya Onishi and Kate Rubins to the ISS.

Congratulating the team, Borisenko's mother said, "Andrey dear, we're wishing you and your entire crew, and the Anatoly Ivanishin crew, all the very, very best, every success in your work. We love you very, very much, we're wishing you all the very best. Remain in good health."

Russia's new MS-series Soyuz spacecrafts feature a range of upgrades and enhancements, including improved avionics, propulsion systems and rendezvous systems in addition to a new satellite communications capability.

In recent years, the upgraded Soyuz spacecrafts made relatively short, just six-orbit trips to the ISS. But for the first couple of MS-series spacecraft, project managers opted for two-day, 34-orbit rendezvous in order to test various upgraded systems.