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Soyuz brings new crew to International Space Station

Their five-month mission: to prepare for new module, take Olympic torch on spacewalk

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Cast your eyes towards the heavens, dear readers, for a long way up there six astronauts did something amazing today.

That thing was the connection of a Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station (ISS).

Aboard were three new ISS crew: Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano.

Those three are now safely aboard the station and will remain therefore over five months, during which time they will prepare the ISS for installation of a new module dubbed Nauka.

Nauka will offer extra living and working space, which will doubtless be welcome.

One of the new crew's other chores will be to take the Olympic torch on a spacewalk. We're going to assume it won't be lit at the time, although it may take a feat of that magnitude to top the efforts of recently-returned ISS crewman Commander Chris Hatfield, whose tweets and songs from space made him quite the celebrity.

To get a flavour of the day's events, which took place in the evening US time and during the European small hours, here's a video of the launch.

And here's NASA's live stream, which at the time of editing (04:30 GMT) was still beaming live from the ISS. ®


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