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Soyuz spaceship docked with Space Station, just in time for orbital Xmas party

Soyuz spaceship docked with Space Station, just in time for orbital Xmas party

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First Posted: Dec 21, 2012 04:24 PM EST
ISS crew Expedition 34
NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn does a flip in zero-g after arriving at the International Space Station Dec. 21. He, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield had just docked aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to join the existing Expedition 34 crewmembers, above. (Photo : NASA TV)

Just in time for Christmas in space, three new residents arrived at the International Space Station on Friday morning (Dec. 21) with the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft. They travelled for 4 days, after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1212 GMT Dec. 19.

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Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn are looking forward to work and live in earth's orbit for the coming 5 months. A noteworthy point is that Chris Hadfield will become the station's first Canadian commander in March 2013 for the Expedition 35 mission beginning then, a reason for millions of Canadians to follow the launch and todays docking closely.

On a side note, the spacecraft wasn't destroyed by asteroid showers or super intensive solar winds, which are among the predicted Mayan doomsday scenarios for todays Dec. 21, 2012.

The International Space Station, now back to a crew of 6, should be manned by a large enough crew to perform all the tasks at hand, including maintenance on the station and monitoring the currently 110 experiments onboard, according to one of the newly arrived astronauts.
 
"I think we need to continue as we've been doing, six people per increment," Romanenko, a veteran of one previous trip to space, said in a preflight interview with NASA. "I think this will again maximize the number of experiments that we do on station. Also, this will facilitate the process of adapting to space. It will help us develop skills that we'll be able to use when flying people to other planets."

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