NASA astronaut on space station after record-breaking flight

One astronaut, two cosmonauts reach station in less than six hours record time

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft, carrying one astronaut and two cosmonauts, successfully rendezvoused and docked with the International Space Station.

It was a flight for the record books since the spacecraft made the trip in less than six hours. Historically, it has taken the Russian spacecraft, as well as NASA's space shuttles, two days to reach the space station.

The fast trip used new rendezvous techniques that were tested in three recent unpiloted Russian cargo spacecrafts, according to NASA.

The Soyuz blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:43 p.m. ET Thursday and rendezvoused with the station less than six hours later, at 10:28 p.m.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, along with Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, traveled aboard the Soyuz yesterday. They are expected to live on the space station until Septemeber.

The new crew members are joining Cmdr. Chris Hadfield and flight engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko who have been living on the station and are scheduled to return to Earth in May.

The three newcomers joined their Expedition 35 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at 12:35 a.m. ET.

Hadfield tweeted late Thursday night, "They're docked! I was right at the hatch, heard/felt the metal sliding, heavy thump, then Soyuz pulling to check the latched. So very cool."

Early this morning, he tweeted, "Good morning, Earth! We've been up all night, getting the Soyuz safed and crew settled in. A long, great day. Six of us now here, together."

He also sent out a tweet with audio of the docking experience early this morning.

"Space Sounds - This is what it sounds like when Soyuz docks with the Station," he tweeted, referring to this audio file.

Hadfield also tweeted a photo he took from the space station showing the Soyuz launch as it appeared from space.

A Twitpic from Astronaut Chris Hadfield of the Soyuz Rocket Launch - the moment of ignition -- as-seen from its target, the space station.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is

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