The Soyuz spacecraft hatch opens after docking at the International Space Station, delivering new crew members, NASA's Jack Fischer, 43, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, 58. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A scaled-down, two-man U.S.-Russian crew arrived at the International Space Station on Thursday, six hours after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed. A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, 43, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, 58, lifted off at 1:13 p.m. local time/3:13 a.m. EDT (0713 GMT) with a rare empty third seat. Russia is scaling back space station staffing until its long-delayed science laboratory is flown to the orbiting outpost next year. 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). Soyuz crewmate Yurchikhin has made four previous space flights. Station commander Peggy 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 U.S. astronaut. She is expected to receive a congratulatory phone call on Monday from U.S. President Donald Trump, NASA said on Wednesday. Whitson, who flew to the station in November along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, will remain aboard with Fischer and Yurchikhin until September.