Station crew returns to six

Following a picture perfect launch earlier today and successful docking this evening the station crew is back to six members after the hatches between the Soyuz and Station were opened.

Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, who will spend the next six months aboard the station, greeted there fellow Expedition 42 crew members after floating through the hatch into the station.  Once on board the traditional welcome call with mission control in Russia allowed the crew to speak with friends and family.

The crew will have a busy time while at the station with 40 hours of science research per week, two spacewalks, several visiting vehicles including two Dragon’s.  For more information on the goals of the mission check out the NASA site here.

Samantha is the 216th person to visit the station.

Below are some screen grabs of the hatch opening and welcome ceremony.

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TMA-15M arrives at International Space Station #ISS

Following a four orbit, six hour journey to the International Space Station, the crew of TMA-15M Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti have arrived safely, a series of leak checks will now be performed before the hatches between the two vehicles can be opened and the crew can enter the station.

Below are screen grabs of the approach and docking

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Expedition 42 crew launched successfully

This afternoon Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti began there six hour, four orbit journey to the International Space Station.  Launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-15M liftoff occurred on time at 14:01 pm EST.  Docking and hatch opening will occur later today, we will post again following each event.

Below are some screen captures from the launch

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