Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off


A new Russian/American duo has arrived at the International Space Station this morning, April 20, after a six-hour flight following their successful launch aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule on a fast track trajectory to the orbiting outpost.

The US astronaut and 58-year-old Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin are joining the crew of the ISS.

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin lifted off from Kazakhstan on Thursday, bound for the International Space Station.

Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA, left, poses for a photo with Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, right.

The ISS laboratory, a rare example of American and Russian global cooperation, has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.

For Yurchikhin, this marks his fifth launch to space, having logged a total of 537 days on one space shuttle mission in 2002 and three long-duration missions on the International Space Station in 2007, 2010 and 2013.

The two launched aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"We are looking forward to intensifying our cooperation on a positive agenda, what the European Union and China can do together for the benefit not only of our citizens, but also of the world", Mogherini said.

Fischer and Yurchikhin join NASA's Peggy Whitson, Russia's Oleg Novitskiy and France's Thomas Pesquet at the station.

The two launched aboard a Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. (1:13 p.m. Baikonur time), orbited Earth four times, and docked at the space station.

The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday.

She will return to Earth in early September with both Fischer and Yurchikhin after NASA chose to extend her stay in space by three months.

Cosmic Quiz: Do You Know the International Space Station? He piloted an F-15E Strike Eagle in two combat tours in Southwest Asia before becoming an F-22 Raptor test pilot, and being selected to become an astronaut.

Russian Federation is now the only country executing manned space flights to the ISS, despite its space industry having suffered a string of setbacks and launch failures in recent years.