The international space station (ISS) is usually manned by five to six astronauts from different countries such as Russia, Japan, Europe and the US. Last Friday, July 28, three new astronauts arrived at the ISS for their five-month space duty.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos released a live streaming coverage of the crew's arrival to the floating space lab. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli journeyed through space from the launch pad in Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Flight to ISS

The travel to reach the ISS is not easy. Before arriving at their target location, the astronauts carried by the Russian Soyuz rocket traveled for six hours. They also orbited the planet four times before the rocket reached and docked on the ISS. Russia's Soyuz rocket is currently the only spacecraft capable of transporting crew to the ISS after NASA's Space Shuttle seized its operations.

After docking to the space station, the crew spent some time inside the capsule to enable pressurization check before the hatches were opened. Once opened, that's the only time the crew can transfer from the capsule to the space lab. Months before the arrival of the three, Russia decided to cut its crew number sent to the ISS.

This means, before this batch, the number of crew in space was down to five. The three new crew members brought the number back to six.

NASA and other countries run the ISS

In order to cope with lesser crew members, NASA increased the number of astronauts working on its half of the space station. According to, four astronauts, namely Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer with Bresnik and Nespoli, will run NASA-led experiments.

Meanwhile, Ryazansky will join existing crew Fyodor Yurchikin to run Russian-led segments.

But the common thing between the two different sections of the ISS is that all of them are run for the purpose of conduction scientific experiments. The new member of the team, Bresnik said that the additional astronaut would aid in conducting experiments and in completing repairs if needed in addition to the projected "ton of science" assignments.

Astronauts aboard the ISS

Currently, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is the only female astronaut aboard the space station. She also holds the record for the longest time a person spent on the ISS and the oldest female astronaut to serve her duty in space.

Meanwhile, Russian cosmonaut Ryazansky is currently serving his third space duty aboard the ISS. He also carried with him a gnome to space as a tribute to his family. During the live broadcast courtesy of Roscosmos, the astronaut's toy was even spotted inside the capsule.

Nespoli, the Italian astronaut, on the other hand, is 60 years old with a total of 174 days spent in space. Among the three new crew members, he is the most experienced. He showed the world that his age is not a hindrance to performing his space duties and that his love for space science hasn't wavered despite the years.