Two Americans, a Russian and an Emirati have arrived at the International Space Station. The "Crew Dragon" with the four astronauts docked at the ISS on Friday, as shown by live images from the US space agency Nasa. The spacecraft hovered 20 meters from the station for a while until a software bug was fixed. Then, with a slight delay, at 8:40 a.m. CET, the first contact was made. The space capsule of Elon Musk's private space company SpaceX was launched on Thursday from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in the US state of Florida.
This is the repeated time since the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine around a year ago and the resulting immense tensions between the USA and Russia, astronauts from both countries have flown together into space. The start was actually planned for Monday, but had to be canceled at short notice and postponed due to problems with the ignition system.
The "Crew-6" that has now flown to the ISS consists of Stephen Bowen, Warren Hoburg, Andrei Fedjajew and Sultan al-Nijadi, who are to remain in space for around six months. Hoburg, Fedjajew and Al-Nijadi are in space for the first time, for Bowen it is the fourth space flight.
On board the ISS they will meet cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and Anna Kikina, NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, and Koichi Wakata from Japan. The "Crew-5" - Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina - is scheduled to fly back to Earth in a few days.
For Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio, the return was delayed because a leak was discovered in the Soyuz capsule that came to the ISS in September. According to experts, it was caused by the impact of a micrometeorite. That's why a replacement spacecraft arrived at the ISS over the weekend, with which the three should probably return to Earth in September - instead of March as originally planned.