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Soyuz hooks up with Space Station, delivers new 'nauts

Full crew to be ready for Dragon arrival

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Vid The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new members of Expedition 31 hooked up with the International Space Station this morning without a hitch at 4.36am GMT.

Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joe Acaba blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan two days ago.

After safely berthing at the Poisk module of the ISS, the trio had to sit on their side of the hatch for about three hours as leak and pressure checks were carried out before being welcomed by crew mates Don Petit, Oleg Kononemko and Andre Kuipers.

It will take the new 'nauts several days to adjust to life aboard the space-lab, after which all six crew members will get busy preparing for the hoped-for arrival of SpaceX's Dragon cargoship.

The Dragon is on its third test flight and will only be given permission to dock with the ISS after passing a series of in-space tests to satisfy mission control.

If the Dragon is allowed to give it a go, the station's crew will give the cargo craft its orders and control the robotic Canadarm2, which will grab the Dragon and bring it in to berth with ISS's Harmony node. ®

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