Soyuz craft docks with space station

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A Soyuz space craft carrying a Malaysian, a Russian and a US astronaut docked Friday with the International Space Station (ISS) after a two-day journey, an official at ground control outside Moscow said.

"The Soyuz docked with the ISS (at 1450 GMT)," ground control spokesman Nikolai Kruchkov told AFP .

The hatch connecting the Soyuz and ISS was to open about one hour and 40 minutes later, allowing the three to enter the permanently inhabited international space platform.

The new arrivals at the ISS were Malaysia's first astronaut, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko and Nasa's Peggy Whitson, who will be the first female commander of the station.

They blasted off on Wednesday from the Baikonur launch centre that Russia runs in Kazakhstan.

Sheikh Muszaphar is celebrating his Hari Raya in the space station before returning to Earth in a week's time with two earlier crewmembers from Expedition 15 team.

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