BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — A Soyuz space capsule delivered an American astronaut making his first space flight and a veteran Greek-Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station on Thursday.
NASA’s Jack Fischer and Greek-Russian Fyodor (Theodoros) Yurchikhin lifted off from the Russia-leased launch facility in Kazakhstan at 1:13 p.m. Thursday (0713GMT, 3:13 a.m. EDT). They reached orbit about nine minutes later, a moment illustrated when a small white stuffed dog hanging from a string in the capsule began to float.
About six hours later, they docked at the orbiting outpost.
LIVE: Soyuz spacecraft hatch opens after docking at the International Space Station, and two new members join the crew.
Posted by Reuters UK on Thursday, April 20, 2017
Fyodor Nikolayevich Yurchikhin (Russian: Фёдор Николаевич Юрчихин, Greek: Θεόδωρος Γιουρτσίχιν του Νικόλαου; born 3 January 1959), is a Russian cosmonaut of Greek descent, engineer and RSC Energia test-pilot who has flown on four spaceflights.
Yurchikhin was born in Batumi, Adjar ASSR, Georgian SSR (now Adjara the autonomous republic of Georgia) on 3 January 1959 to Pontic Greek parents Nikolai Fyodorovich Yurchikhin and Mikrula Sofoklevna Yurchikhina (born Ελένη Γραμματικοπούλου του Σοφοκλή) (both now reside in Sindos, Greece). Yurchikhin is married to Larisa Anatolievna Yurchikhina (born in Shchyolkovo) and has two daughters.
Yurchikhin was awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation medal, the Order of Friendship medal (2003),the Order of the Phoenix (Greece), the NASA Space Flight Medal (2003), medals of the Federation of Cosmonautics and the title of Russian Federation Test-Cosmonaut (2003).
Yurchikhin was one of five cosmonauts selected to raise the Russian flag at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
Fischer and Yurchikhin join NASA’s Peggy Whitson, Russia’s Oleg Novitskiy and France’s Thomas Pesquet at the station.
The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday. On that day, Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, will have spent 535 days in space, more time than any other American astronaut. Jeffrey Williams currently holds the record.
At 57, Whitson also is the oldest woman in space. She returns to Earth in September.
Fischer and Yurchikhin, making his fifth space flight, will spend more than four months aboard the orbiting station before also returning to Earth in September.