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Watch: Soyuz rocket docks with International Space Station

The mission was delayed for two months after a similar rocket exploded shortly after take-off in August.

The new arrivals sit in front after being welcomed aboard the ISS.
The new arrivals sit in front after being welcomed aboard the ISS.

A RUSSIAN SOYUZ rocket carrying three astronauts has successfully docked at the International Space Station which is orbiting the Earth.

The three, two Russians and one American, were greeted by the ISS’s current three-man crew.

The current crew is due to leave the ISS and return to Earth next week, while the three who entered the station today will replace them until March. They are due to be joined by three additional crew members in late December.

(Video uploaded by the Associated Press)

Since NASA ended its space shuttle programme over the summer, the Soyuz is the only way to transport astronauts and supplies to the ISS.

The three men who arrived at the ISS today blasted off on Monday and are the first to travel aboard the Soyuz since an unmanned cargo rocket exploded shortly after its launch in August. That crash delayed this mission by about two months.

It is the first time the two Russians, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, have travelled into space while the American astronaut Dan Burbank has visited the space station twice before, having taken part in shuttle missions in 2000 and 2006.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Watch: Manned Russian Soyuaz launches from Kazakhstan >

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