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American, Russian arrive at International Space Station

20 Avril 2017

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasted off Thursday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The rocket lifted off at 3:13 am EDT/ 7:13 GMT with a rare empty third seat from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. About nine minutes into their voyage, the stuffed dog leaped into the air, then began to drift at the end of the string around its neck.

Preparations are underway for the launch of China's first unmanned cargo spacecraft on a mission to dock with the country's space station. About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz capsule and station opened. Once at the station, they will be welcomed by Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson along with Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of European Space Agency. "Fyodor told me I should be doing that", he said.

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The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday. On that day, Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, will have spent 535 days in space, more time than any other American astronaut. Jeffrey Williams now holds the record.

At 57, Whitson also is the oldest woman to have been in space. She's due to return to Earth in September.

Fischer and Yurchikhin reached the $100 billion space station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth on schedule at 9:18 a.m. EDT (1318 GMT).

American, Russian arrive at International Space Station