American, Russian arrive at International Space Station

Yurchikhin has made four previous space flights.

Russia's Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft carrying two crew members has been launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a source in the Roscosmos State Corporation told TASS.

Veteran Fyodor Yurchikhin and first-timer Jack Fischer arrived at the station after a six hour journey which began at 8.13am United Kingdom time.

The pair will travel on a fast-track, 6-hour course to the space station and dock to the Poisk module.

"We have contact and capture confirmed at the space station at 9:18 am EDT", said the NASA Houston mission control commentator.

Expedition 51 crewmembers Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos (left) and Jack Fischer of NASA (right) answer questions from the press at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Facility in Star City, Russia.

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, 43, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, 58, lifted off at 1.13pm local time (3.13pm Singapore time) with a rare empty third seat.

That Progress spacecraft launched on an older Soyuz-U rocket, and crewed launches now take place on a more modern Soyuz-FG rocket, but the two rockets share a common third stage.

"Mom, it's like me being in Texas, depending on where we are going around the Earth, I'll be just as close", he said.

Thus the overall station crew complement of astronauts and cosmonauts increases to five - from the US, Russia and France - representing their respective space agencies and countries. She will return home on board a Soyuz capsule in September.

Top diplomats from China and the European Union pledged to work together on issues including Syria and North Korea and cooperate more closely to advance free trade, striking a contrast with American economic nationalism being promoted by President Donald Trump. The two new crew members were welcomed by Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA. Let's see how much you know about the basics of this science laboratory in the sky. 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. He is the 550th person in history to fly into Earth orbit.

Yurchikhin marks his fifth space launch with this event.

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