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Three international travelers arrived safely at the International Space Station in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft, docking just in time for the holidays, at 15:19 UTC on December 23, 2011. Oleg Kononenko from Russia, NASA astronaut Don Pettit and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers from The Netherlands docked at the Rassvet module on the Russian segment of the complex, and a few hours later were greeted by three other crew members on the outpost, station Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been aboard the orbital laboratory for just over a month.
The Soyuz slowly flew around the Station and spiralled in to perfect alignment with the Earth-facing docking port. This is just the fourth long-duration mission on the ISS for an ESA astronaut. The trio that arrived today will work aboard the Station for five months and return to Earth in May.