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Soyuz MS-03 docks at ISS with 3 astronauts aboard

IANS | Washington |

The manned Russian spaceship Soyuz MS-03 successfully docked at the International Space Station (ISS) with three astronauts aboard, NASA said.
The docking took place on Saturday following its launch on Thursday with the aid of the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Efe news reported.
The spaceship, the third in the new Soyuz series, transported to the ISS the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitski, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, and France’s Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The crew of the Soyuz MS-03 was to be received on the orbiting platform by its current occupants: the Russians Sergey Rzyhikov and Andrey Borisenko and the American Shane Kimbrough, who have been in space for more than three months.
The new crew will celebrate Christmas and New Year holidays aboard the ISS.
As it did with the launch of the first two spaceships of the new Soyuz series, the Russian space agency Roscosmos chose the “slow scheme” of approaching and docking at the ISS, not the system they have used lately that allowed docking at the platform six hours after blasting off.