Russian Spacecraft Docks at Space Station

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MOSCOW - The Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked at the International Space Station on Sunday morning, Russia's Roscosmos space agency reported.

Using an automatic docking system, the Soyuz TMA-18 docked at 9:26 a.m. Moscow time (1:26 a.m EDT), according to Russian Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin.

"Everybody is clapping here," a Russian flight controller told the Soyez crew. "Everybody is applauding you guys," he said.

The Soyuz, launched on Friday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, is carrying Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko and American astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson.

The Discovery shuttle, slated to launch Monday from the Kennedy Space Center, will carry a seven-person crew to the orbiting station for a 13-day mission.

The Discovery will deliver 10 tons of supplies and equipment when it docks at 3:44 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The 10 arriving crew members will join three others already at the space station to work together on several key projects.

"Today was a beautiful beginning to Expedition 23," said Kirk Shireman, deputy manager of the Johnson Space Center's space station program in Houston.

"We're very pleased to have a successful docking and a successful launch a couple of days ago," Shireman said.

"It's great to have six people on board the International Space Station once again, and we look forward to a lot of successful and difficult work this crew will perform," he said.

"Early tomorrow in Florida, their colleagues will be launching from the Kennedy Space Center and docking two days later. So Alexander, Mikhail and Tracy won't have much time to rest before their new friends will arrive, and it will be a busy time," he said.


AP and Spaceflight Now contributed to this report.

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