It took more than was expected, but the three astronauts set for the International Space Station docked with the International Space Station at 10:46 p.m. E.T. You can watch them here:
The rocket had a successful launch at 5:02 p.m. EDT (2102 GMT) to experienced Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and rookie astronauts Kjell Lindgren with NASA and Japan’s Kimiya Yui into orbit. The crew will stay there for 5 months, returning on December 22, just in time to make Christmas on Earth. Aboard the ISS, they will join Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, who have already been in space for 117 days.
The trio was set to launch in May, but the mission was delayed after an issue with the Soyuz rocket destined to take them there. That accident stranded a Progress ship, an expendable cargo spacecraft with the purpose of delivering supplies needed to sustain human presence in orbit. Nine days later, the capsule, loaded with three tons of equipment and supplies, fell back into Earth’s atmosphere and was incinerated.
However, things seem to have settled down and the source of the error was identified and the problem was fixed.
All astronauts are allowed to take a special item with them, and after we had a tortilla last time, now, we’re going to have some sushi onboard! Yui told a news conference that he was taking some sushi with him as a treat for the others – yum!