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Happy to be here, says Sunita from space station

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 17, 2012 14:12 IST
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Record-setting Indian-American cosmonaut Sunita Williams along with two other astronauts on Tuesday docked their Russian spacecraft at the International Space Station for a four-month stay.

46-year-old NASA astronaut Williams, Russian Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency flight engineer Akihiko Hoshide arrived at the ISS after two days in orbit.

The trio docked its Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft to the Rassvet module at around 10:21 IST, NASA said in a statement.

The crew took off to the ISS successfully from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 15 for a four-month long mission to the space station.

This is the second space mission for Sunita Williams. She also holds the record of the longest spaceflight -- 195 days -- for woman space travellers.

The crew, which will return home in mid-November, is expected to conduct over 30 scientific missions during their stay aboard the ISS.

Williams, Malenchenko and Hoshide will join current station residents Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin when the hatches open a little over three hours later.

The hatches between the Soyuz and the Rassvet module will open in about 2-1/2 hours, and Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin will greet their new crewmates.

Williams, a flight engineer on the station's Expedition 32 crew, will take over as commander of Expedition 33 on reaching the space station.

The six-member crew also will conduct a welcoming ceremony with family and mission officials then undergo a safety briefing.

The launch and docking of Expedition 32 coincides with the 37th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first docking of an American spacecraft with a Russian spacecraft.

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