Latest Space Station crew docks in record time following successful launch

The three crewmates are scheduled to dock their Soyuz at the station's Rassvet module at 4:52 a.m. EDT (0852 GMT) after a two-orbit rendezvous.

A recent video was uploaded to Twitter by the International Space Station welcoming the new astronauts that just arrived at the space station.

Since ending the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA has depended on Russian Federation to transport astronauts to the ISS.

Kate Rubins of NASA, together with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, lifted off on Russia's Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday (Oct. 14).

Previous Soyuz journeys to the space station had followed a six-hour track or two-day path.

Wednesday's manned journey even beat the fastest time for missions just carrying supplies to the station. Just an uncrewed Progress freight space transport has recently utilized this profile which requires only two circles before docking.

Before May 30, when USA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived at the ISS, Russia and Baikonur had enjoyed a lucrative monopoly on manned missions to the ISS.

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The American segment of the space station has its own oxygen generation system.

The emergence of private players SpaceX and Boeing - part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program - has fuelled talk of a new "space race" between a number of countries.

Speaking during Tuesday's pre-launch news conference at Baikonur, Rubins emphasized that the crew spent weeks in quarantine at the Star City training facility outside Moscow and then on Baikonur to avoid any threat from the coronavirus.

Ryzhikov is the commander of flight MS-17 and will take over the command of the ISS from astronaut Chris Cassidy.

This is cosmonaut Kud-Sverchkov's first flight into space and he is Flight Engineer 1.

The ISS, which has been permanently occupied since 2000 has been a rare example of cooperation between Moscow and Washington, but the project may be entering its final decade.

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