VIDEO: US, Russian Astronauts, Cosmonauts Arrive on International Space Station

Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:25:35

A NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrived to the International Space Station around 0520 GMT on Saturday March 19.

The crew will replace a crew that ended a year-long flight earlier this month.

U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The trip to the space station took around six hours.

The men will spend about six months living and working aboard the $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

NASA and Russia have not yet assigned crews for additional year-long missions following the March 1 return of astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko from a 340-day spaceflight.

Williams, 58, who will be serving aboard the station for a third time, is expected to return to Earth with a career total of 534 days in space. This would surpass the current U.S. record, which is Kelly’s cumulative 520 days.

The world record belongs to Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who returned from his fifth flight last September and has spent a total of 879 days in space.

Scientists are interested in seeing how the human body fares during longer stays in space as the United States and other countries being planning for multi-year missions to Mars.

The crew has been preparing for the arrival of an Orbital ATK cargo ship, which is scheduled to blast off from Florida on Tuesday; Reuters reported.

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