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Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-18 docks at orbiting station

The Soyuz TMA-18 rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday, April 2, 2010 carrying three Expedition 23 crew members to the International Space Station. A NASA Photo.

MOSCOW (AP): A Russian space official says the Soyuz craft, Soyuz TMA-18, carrying an American and two Russian astronauts has docked successfully at the International Space Station.

Russia's Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin says the spacecraft hooked up with the orbiting station using an automatic docking system at 9:26 am Moscow time (0526 GMT) on Sunday.

The Soyuz was launched Friday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

California native Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko are joining the station's three current inhabitants.

Less than 10 minutes after launch, their spacecraft reached orbit and its antennas and solar arrays were deployed.

Within three days, a seven-person crew aboard the Shuttle Discovery will dock at the station for a 13-day mission.

During this period, four women will be in space at the same time, which is a first in history.

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