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The three new crew members - NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Konenenko of Roscosmos (Russia's space agency) - docked on the ISS at about 3.30am (AEST).

FLIGHT engineer David Saint-Jacques (top), flight engineer Anne McClain of NASA (centre) and Soyuz commander Oleg Kononenko wave farewell prior to boarding Russia's Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft. In addition, Kononenko and Prokopiev 11 December will be released into outer space to explore the ship "Soyuz MS-09" where you previously found the hole.

Russian Federation said last month the October launch had failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.

The launch was closely scrutinised because of the abortive mission to the ISS on October 11, which ended two minutes after take-off when a rocket failure forced its two-man crew to perform an emergency landing.

The three current inhabitants - Alexander Gerst of Germany, Serena Auñón-Chancellor of the United States and Sergey Prokopyev of Russian Federation - plan to return December 20 aboard a Soyuz module that has been docked to the station since June.

Their arrival restores ISS to its usual crew complement of six, but only for two-and-a-half weeks. In a call with his family and others at the Russian launch site, Saint-Jacques revealed his first impressions of outer space so far.

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NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin ejected the capsule from the rocket when the spacecraft was about 50 kilometers - 31 miles - above Earth.

An helicopter pilot and will strap into a Soyuz rocket on Monday for the trip from Kazakhstan to the, according to a release from Army Space and Missile Defense Command. The shield will be brought into the station and later returned to earth, Russian space officials said.

Following a four-orbit, six-hour journey, the three arrived at the station to finally replace the crew that was left stranded there since October.

The existing ISS crew is supposed to get its ride back home in a Soyuz capsule that is docked to the station.

The examination has to be conducted in space, as the portion of the Soyuz ship with the hole is created to separate and burn during re-entry, meaning it can not be examined on the ground.

Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques showed no signs of worry as they boarded a bus to take them to the launch.


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