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Friday, June 2, 2023

New astronauts from US, Russia and UAE arrive at space station

New astronauts from the US, Russia and the United Arab Emirates have arrived on the International Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After overcoming a problem with one of the capsule’s docking hooks, a new crew member arrived Friday on the International Space Station for a six-month mission.

It’s the same issue that arose shortly after liftoff on Thursday. While all 12 hooks on the capsule appeared to be fine, the switch on one failed. SpaceX Mission Control urged patience, telling astronauts they could stay in this hold mode for up to two hours.

“The team is trying to make it happen, not just fast,” mission control broadcast.

A few minutes later, new software commands were relayed and the astronauts were cleared to proceed with the final approach and docking. In the end, the connection was an hour late as the capsule and station soared 260 miles (420 kilometers) above the coast of Somalia.

Expect an hour to open the hatch, which is standard time for proper pressurization.

“Now let’s work on opening this hatch so you can go and hug your crew,” NASA Mission Control said in Houston.

The newcomers include Sultan al-Neyadi of the United Arab Emirates, the first astronaut from the Arab world to spend extended periods in space. Al-Neyadi is the second person from the UAE to be sent into orbit by a rocket.

Also flying in the capsule: NASA’s Stephen Bowen, a retired Navy submariner with three Space Shuttle flights; Warren “Woody” Hoburg, a space novice and former research scientist at MIT; and Andrei Fedyaev, a space novice from Russia Air Force retired.

Earlier Thursday, SpaceX launched four astronauts for NASA from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Their flight was delayed for several days due to a clogged filter in the ignition fluid line.

The UAE sent its first astronaut, Hazza al-Mansoori, to the space station on a Russian rocket in 2019. Decades have passed since 1985, when NASA’s space shuttle era launched the first Arab satellite. The longest spaceflight of any of them was about a week.

“I don’t know how to express my happiness for al-Neyadi,” al-Mansoori tweeted after the release.

The newcomers will replace two NASA astronauts, a Japanese cosmonaut and a Russian cosmonaut who have been there since October, and will return next week in their own SpaceX capsule.


The Associated Press Health and Science Division is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.

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