1. ITV Report

US-Russia crew reaches Space Station in six hours

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-10M space ship carrying a new crew to the ISS, blasts off in Kazakhstan. Photo: Reuters

A Russian Soyuz rocket has delivered two Russians and one American to the International Space Station in under six hours.

The Soyuz rocket and capsule lifted off in Kazakhstan on Wednesday evening with Russian commander Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, of Russia and Michael Hopkins of the US.

Only two other crews have made the journey as quickly. The rocket took an "express route" which orbits about 250 miles above Earth.

The new crew members join Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, and puts the ISS staff back up to six members.

nternational Space Station crew member US astronaut Michael Hopkins waves as he boards the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft. Credit: Reuters

During their five-month stay, Kotov and Ryazanskiy are scheduled to make three spacewalks, the first of which will include taking an unlighted Olympic torch outside the airlock to promote the Sochi Olympic Games in Russia, which open in February 2014.

Our goal here is to make it look spectacular.We'd like to showcase our Olympic torch in space. We will try to do it in a beautiful manner. Millions of people will see it live on TV and they will see the station and see how we work.

– Commander Oleg Kotov

The torch is scheduled to be delivered to the station in early November by the next crew launching to the outpost and the returning astronauts will then bring it back to Earth so the traditional torch relay can continue.