Space station crew arrives; satellite lifts off

GOES-R launch
An Atlas 5 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, sending the GOES-R weather satellite into space. (United Launch Alliance Photo)

NASA and its space partners juggled an arrival and a departure today: First, three new crew members docked with the International Space Station to begin a months-long stay in orbit. Then the next-generation GOES-R went into space for a 20-year weather-monitoring mission.

One operation went by the book. The other almost didn’t happen.

The crew’s arrival aboard a Russian Soyuz craft brings the space station’s staffing back to its full strength of six spacefliers. The new arrivals include NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who already has served two tours of duty aboard the station and is due to break the U.S. record for cumulative time in space during her current flight.

At the age of 56, Whitson is the oldest woman to fly in space.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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