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Russian Soyuz Crew Docks with Space Station


A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three astronauts has docked at the International Space Station, marking the first time the orbiter has a full staff of six.

The six astronauts smiled and hugged each other Friday after the three newcomers - from Russia, Canada and Belgium - opened the hatch and moved into the space station.

The mission also marks the first time all five of the space agencies sponsoring the space station are simultaneously represented in the orbiter. The sponsors are the United States, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada.

After greeting each other, the six astronauts had a brief exchange with their sponsoring space agencies, during which they were congratulated for making history.

Earlier Friday, NASA announced it has signed a multimillion dollar "modification" to an international space station contract with Russia. Under the agreement, the Russian space agency will ferry U.S. astronauts to the international space station until 2012.

The pact extends an existing agreement.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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