New space station crew greeted with cheers on arrival

Four space travelers who arrived at the International Space Station, or ISS, on Friday were greeted with applause and hugs by the current crew after their capsule reached with the orbiting space station.

The four new arrivals include two U.S. astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.

Their Crew Dragon capsule, built by Elon Musk’s private SpaceX Company, docked with the ISS at 1:40 a.m. EST Friday after blasting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday.

Live NASA images showed the new crew members’ arrival.

The arrival was slightly delayed by a faulty docking hook sensor, with the spacecraft hovering about 65 feet shy of the ISS, while a software error was fixed.

Kathryn Lueders, NASA’s director of human spaceflight, said it was great to see the crew get through the hatch safely and meet their fellow crew members on the ISS.

Russian and U.S. space crews have now flown together multiple times since Russia launched its full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, which raised tensions between the two nations and halted cooperation in other areas.

The launch, originally scheduled for Monday, had been postponed a few minutes before take-off due to problems with the ignition system.

The four-man Crew-6 that just arrived at the ISS consists of Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg of the U.S., Russian Andrej Fedjajew and Emirati Sultan al-Nijadi.

They are scheduled to remain in space for around six months. The crew will conduct more than 200 experiments and technology demonstrations during their stay aboard the ISS.

Hoburg, Fedjajew and Al-Nijadi are in space for the first time. It is the fourth space flight for Bowen.

On board the ISS, they met Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and Anna Kikina, NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina – designated as Crew-5 – are scheduled to return to Earth in a few days.

The return of Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio, originally scheduled for this month, was delayed because a leak was discovered in the Russian Soyuz capsule that brought them to the ISS in September.

The damaged appears to have been caused by the impact of a tiny meteorite, according to experts.

A replacement spacecraft for those crew members arrived at the ISS at the weekend. The three are expected to likely return to Earth in September.