Three Man crew at International Space Station to boost U.S. research projects

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft carrying the crew of Paolo Nespoli of Italy, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Russia and Randy Bresnik of the U.S. blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

Vastavam web: A new crew arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, giving NASA for the first time four astronauts to boost U.S. research projects aboard the orbiting laboratory.A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three spaceflight veterans slipped into a docking port aboard the station at 5:54 p.m. EDT (2154 GMT) as the $100 billion research outpost sailed about 250 miles (400 km) over Germany, a NASA TV broadcast showed.The men will join two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut already aboard the station, a project of 15 nations.

Their arrival means the U.S. space agency now has four crew members instead of three available for medical experiments, technology demonstrations and other research aboard the station, the U.S. space agency said.NASA does not oversee the Russian staff, which was reduced to two in April until a long-delayed research module joins the station next year.Previously, Russia flew three cosmonauts, with the remaining three positions filled by a combination of European, Japanese, Canadian and U.S. astronauts, who are trained and overseen by NASA.NASA is using the station to prepare for human missions to the moon and Mars and to stimulate commercial space transportation, pharmaceutical research, manufacturing and other businesses.The agency also conducts physics, astronomy and Earth science investigations aboard the outpost, which has been staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since 2000.