The crew onboard the International Space Station has doubled after a successful docking by a Russian Soyuz. A Belgian, a Canadian and a Russian have joined the existing three-member crew and are scheduled to stay for six months.
The existing crew, made up of Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, NASA astronaut Michael Barratt and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, also plan to stay until a new crew rotation in October. When Padalka leaves, Belgian Frank de Winne will take over as commander onboard the ISS, marking the first time that a European will be taking charge of a crew in orbit. All are experienced astronauts apart from young Roman Romanenko from Russia, the son of a Soviet-era cosmonaut, who is making his maiden voyage to space at the age of 37. All five partner space agencies are now represented onboard the ISS.