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12 Oct, 2007 11:54

Soyuz spacecraft successfully docks with ISS

Russia's manned spacecraft Soyuz has successfully docked with the International Space Station. Soyuz has been carrying the 16th ISS crew, who will work in orbit for the next six months, replacing the previous crew.

On board the Soyuz was the first-ever Malaysian cosmonaut, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. He is also the first Muslim to arrive at the ISS during the holy fast of Ramadan. Mr Shukor says he’ll follow the religious rules carefully and has been given a set of guidelines on how to pray while in orbit. He’s described his voyage as a landmark event and hopes to be an inspiration to the younger generation in Malaysia.

The Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS, NASA and the Malaysian side all describe the docking as very successful. No technical problem occurred in process.

The crew has three main aims. Firstly, the programme of experiments to be done by the Malaysian astronaut; secondly, rotating the crew and exchanging information and, thirdly, preparing the other spacecraft for undocking and returning back to Earth.

Anatoly Perminov, Head,
Roskosmos space agency

During Mr Shukor’s 11-day trip he will be carrying out various medical experiments before returning to Earth with two members of the 15th expedition on October 21st.

His two crewmates, Russian Flight Engineer Yury Malenchencko and the first female commander of the ISS, U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson will stay for a total of six months.

Expedition 16 will also receive 7 spacecraft while in orbit, including the first European cargo vehicle carrying fuel, food and oxygen to the ISS.