Today the International Space Station’s crew welcomed aboard its first “official” British astronaut, Tim Peake, just hours after he blasted off in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft alongside U.S. and Russian spacefliers.
Peake, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko were lofted into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:03 a.m. local time (3:03 a.m. PT). They made a brisk 6.5-hour trip to the station and were greeted by three crewmates: NASA’s Scott Kelly and Russia’s Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov. Kelly and Kornienko are more than halfway through a yearlong tour of duty.
After a round of hugs and handshakes, the crew exchanged additional greetings with family members and VIPs via a video link. “I hope you enjoyed the show,” Peake told David Parker, chief executive of the U.K. Space Agency.