New crew of astronauts arrives at International Space Station

DPA Baikonur (Kazakhstan) | Updated on May 29, 2014 Published on May 29, 2014

The Expedition 40 crew gathers in the International Space Station's Zvezda service module to receive congratulatory calls for the three newest crew members.   -  NASA

Expedition 40 Soyuz Commander Maxim Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, bottom, Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman of NASA, center, and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, ESA, top, wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz TMA-13M rocket.   -  NASA

German astronaut Alexander Gerst reached the International Space Station early on Thursday.

The Soyuz rocket carrying a crew of three blasted off on early Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The TMA-13M carried Reid Wiseman of NASA, Maxim Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA said on its website.

It arrived at the ISS at around 0147 GMT, around six hours after lift-off.

The rocket blasted off at 1:57 am (1957 GMT) and reached orbit just under nine minutes after launch, the agency said.

German-born Gerst will work at the International Space Station for nearly a half year.

“Till next time! Would love to take you all with me ...” Gerst, 38, tweeted.

The geophysicist is to conduct more than 100 experiments before his scheduled return to Earth on November 11. He is expected to make at least one a spacewalk.

“Adrenaline is rising but feel relaxed,” read another of Gerst’s tweets, sent on the way to the launchpad.

Astronaut Steven Swanson and cosmonauts Alexander Skvorsov and Oleg Artemyev are currently on the ISS.

Published on May 29, 2014
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