A Russian Soyuz TMA-02M/27S spacecraft docked with the International Space Station late Thursday, completing a two-day transit for Cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, NASA’s Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa, of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The linkup at 5:18 p.m., EDT, united the newcomers with Expedition 28 commander Andrey Borisenko and flight engineer Alexander Samokutyaev, both of Russia, and NASA astronaut Ron Garan.
The Soyuz lifted off from Central Asia on Tuesday, initiating a more than five month mission for the new crew members.
With the docking, the station’s resident crew returned to six people for the first time since May 23, when three U. S., Italian and Russia crew members departed for Earth, following more than five months of duty.
The refortified station crew will prepare for the July arrival of orbiter Atlantis on NASA’s final shuttle flight. The three-man, one woman shuttle crew plans to deliver enough supplies to keep the station staffed for a year.