Soyuz rocket carrying new crew docks ISS

International Space Station gathers new crew after two months delay due to series of unsuccessful launches

Photo by: NASA
Photo by: NASA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A Russian made Soyuz capsule carrying a Russian, an American and a Japanese astronaut docked International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Kjell Lindgren from NASA and Japanese national Kimiya Yui arrived at the $100-billion station orbiting 400 km above earth in a less than six hour journey which started at around 5:00 local time from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

Initially planned to set off in May, the launch was delayed due to a pair of unsuccessful launches of resupply missions at the end of April and early May.

The series of mishaps continued with two US companies’ recent unsuccessful launches. The SpaceX and Orbital ATK missions were postponed following the accidents.

“It's certainly no fun to see several of the cargo vehicles undergo mishaps,” Lindgren said. “It underscores the difficulty of this industry and ... how unforgiving the space environment is.”

On July 3, the Soyuz rocket successfully docked at the ISS with a replacement cargo, giving a green light to manned launches.

The new trio of astronauts will join Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly. Kornienko and Kelly are at the station for four months and are participating in a one year mission in space.