A Russian Soyuz capsule arrived in record time at the International Space Station on Thursday, shaving the standard two-day flight down to less than six hours.
The shortcut required some very precisely timed steering maneuvers, all of which occurred without problems. That positioned NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and his two Russian crewmates, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, to reach the station at 10:28 p.m. EDT, just five hours and 45 minutes after liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
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"Everything is going good," Vinogradov radioed to flight controllers as the Soyuz capsule neared the station.
"The closer the station, the better we feel," he said.
On hand to meet the newcomers were station commander Chris Hadfield, with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and cosmonaut Roman Romanenko.
All previous station crews, whether flying aboard NASA's now-retired space shuttles or on Russian Soyuz capsules, took at least two days to reach the station, which flies about 250 miles above Earth.