Astronauts Arrive at International Space Station After Extra Long Trip

A journey that usually takes six hours took them two days.

ByALYSSA NEWCOMB
September 4, 2015, 9:05 AM
PHOTO: An international crew of nine from the U.S.. Russia, Japan, Denmark and Kazakhstan will work together on the orbital laboratory until Sept. 11, 2015.
An international crew of nine from the U.S.. Russia, Japan, Denmark and Kazakhstan will work together on the orbital laboratory until Sept. 11, 2015.
NASA TV

— -- After a two-day journey to get to the International Space Station, three astronauts were all smiles as they exited the cramped Soyuz vessel and were welcomed by colleagues to their home in low-Earth orbit.

The trio, which includes a Russian, a Dane and a Kazakh, blasted off Wednesday on board a Soyuz rocket on a two-day journey to reach the ISS. While astronauts have taken a direct six-hour route in recent years, the Russian Federal Space Agency said it decided to switch to the traditional route because of security concerns after the space station adjusted its orbit in order to dodge space junk.

The route included 34 orbits of Earth to reach the space station, according to NASA.

The new arrivals bring the total number of astronauts at the International Space Station to nine, making it the first time since 2013 that many people lived at the station.

It won't be full for long, though. The Kazakh and the Dane are set to return to Earth Sept. 12, along with Gennady Padalka, who is the station commander, and will hand off the duty to U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly.

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