The International Space Station (ISS) is fully staffed after the arrival late on 28 May of a multinational crew launched on a fast-track mission from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

US astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and Luca Parmitano, of the European Space Agency, docked at the ISS less than six hours after blast off.

They will join Expedition 36 crew members Chris Cassidy, of NASA, and cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, who have been on board the station since March.

Until this year, crews flew a two-day trek to the space station until Russian engineers developed new launch trajectories that enable same-day dockings.

Soyuz is the only vehicle capable of flying crew to the ISS and although the capability is meant to be augmented by new US-built commercial crew vehicles, astronauts will rely on Soyuz until at least 2017.

The launch marks Soyuz's 1,749th in the life of the programme.

Source: Flight International