OSCOW Oct 1 A Soyuz-TMA-7 spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev, NASA astronaut William McArthur, and U.S. space tourist Gregory Olsen successfully reached a pre-calculated orbit at 8:03 a.m. on Saturday, a spokesman for the Russian space mission control in Korolyov outside Moscow.
"All the systems worked properly. The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station at 9:32 a.m. Moscow time on October 3," the spokesman said.
The members of the Expedition 11 crew, Sergei Krikalyov and John Phillips, have been working onboard the ISS since April 2005 and will be replaced by McArthur and Tokarev, who will stay in space for the next half a year. Olsen, a private U.S. citizen, will spend in space eight days and will return to earth together with Krikalyov and Phillips, INTERFAX reported.
Following the summit in Riga on November 30, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained how the alliance could respond to Russia's 'new aggression against Ukraine.'