Three more spacefliers arrived at the International Space Station today in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, increasing the orbital outpost’s population from its usual six to a crowded nine.
One of the new arrivals is Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, the first citizen of the United Arab Emirates to fly in space.
The 35-year-old fighter jet pilot was sent to the final frontier under the terms of a contract with the Russian Space Agency, and will be returning to Earth on a different Soyuz in just eight days. The cost to the UAE hasn’t been reported, but for what it’s worth, NASA has been paying the Russians more than $80 million for a ride.
The other two spacefliers are NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, another first-time flier, and veteran Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka.
Their Soyuz craft docked with the station just six hours after today’s launch from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.