Sushi-Bearing Astronauts Reach ISS Safely
Successful launch doubles station's population
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 23, 2015 3:39 AM CDT
From left: US astronaut Kjell Lindgen, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Japan astronaut Kimiya Yui are seen prior to launch.   (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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(Newser) – A Soyuz space capsule carrying a Russian, an American, and a Japanese astronaut docked smoothly with the International Space Station today. The capsule connected to the orbiting laboratory 250 miles above Earth early this morning, almost six hours after it lifted off from a Russian-manned launch facility in Kazakhstan. The capsule, which reached orbit about 15 minutes after launch and circled the Earth four times before heading for the space station, carried Oleg Kononenko of Russia, NASA's Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui of Japan.

Lindgren and Yui are on their first trips into space. They join Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and US astronaut Scott Kelly. The latter two are more than four months into a nearly yearlong mission on the space station. Yui said at a news conference that he was taking some sushi with him as a treat for the others. The launch was postponed by about two months after the April failure of an unmanned Russian cargo ship, which raised concerns about Russian rocketry. Another Russian cargo ship was successfully launched in early July. (Last week, the ISS astronauts had to flee flying space debris.)