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New crew arrives at International Space Station

IANS 24 Nov 2014, 14:48:18 PM IST

Baikonur: A new crew joined their Expedition 42 crew-mates when the hatches between Russia's manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-15M and the International Space Station (ISS) officially opened on Monday after a successful docking, the Mission Control Centre has said.

“The hatches were opened at 8 a.m. Moscow time. The Soyuz crew entered the ISS,” a spokesman for the centre, located outside Moscow, told TASS news agency.

The new crew consists of Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, American Terry Virts and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Yelena Serova, both of Russian space agency Roscosmos, welcomed the new crew members.

The crew will spend 169 days on board the station during which it is due to carry out an extensive programme of over 100 scientific and applied researches and experiments and work with Russian cargo ships and Europe's ATV-5 cargo spacecraft.

No spacewalks are planned.

Of the new crew, only Cristoforetti has no experience of spaceflights. Shkaplerov and Virts have previously made one flight each.