American, Russian cheered as they reach Intl Space Station

Toby Manning
April 21, 2017

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, April 20, 2017.

A day before the launch, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin said that his vision of the spacecraft differs from that of NASA astronaut Jack Fischer.

Fisher, with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is sharing the station with two seasoned veterans, a Russian cosmonaut on his second flight and a first-time French flier.

Yurchikhin, making his fifth space flight, and Fischer, who is there for the first time, talked to family and friends at the Baikonur facility who were watching the launch there.

The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday. Commander Whitson, 57, in the midst of her third long-duration mission, is due on Monday to beat the 534-day record for cumulative time spent in space by a US astronaut.

They were welcomed by Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Russian Federation and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, as well as Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA, who on Monday will break the record for longest time spent in space by a USA astronaut.

USA astronaut Jack Fischer, crew member of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, waves near the rocket prior to the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, April 20, 2017.

At 57, Whitson also is the oldest woman to have been in space. She returns to Earth in September.

Fischer and Yurchikhin reached the $100 billion space station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, arriving on schedule at 9:18 a.m. EDT (1318 GMT).

Other reports by VgToday

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