New Expedition 37 crew members Oleg Kotov, Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy were welcomed aboard the International Space Station Thursday at 12:34 a.m. EDT. They docked to the Poisk mini-research module Wednesday at 10:45 p.m. EDT aboard a Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft.
They launched just four orbits earlier at 4:58 p.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. After the hatches opened the new residents were greeted by Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano.
Kotov, Hopkins and Ryazanskiy are scheduled for a 5-1/2 month stay in space living and working inside the orbital laboratory. They are due to return home in March 2014 landing in Kazakhstan inside the same Soyuz spacecraft they arrived in.
This is Kotov’s third space station mission. He served as a flight engineer for Expedition 15 in 2007. Kotov was also commander in 2010 for Expedition 23. Hopkins and Ryazanskiy are both on their first space mission.
Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano have been aboard the space station since May 28. They have seen the arrival of two international resupply ships and one commercial cargo craft.
Since they began their mission, Yurchikhin has participated in three Russian spacewalks. Parmitano conducted two U.S. spacewalks. Nyberg captured Japan’s Kounotori-4 resupply ship while at the controls of the Canadarm2.