A Russian cosmonaut arrives at the International Space Station aboard SpaceX

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A Russian cosmonaut arrives at the International Space Station aboard SpaceX

Screenshot from a NASA video release showing Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina entering the International Space Station from a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina and three other crew members arrived at the International Space Station on Thursday, after traveling aboard a spacecraft from the American company SpaceX.

This joint flight was particularly symbolic in the midst of the war in Ukraine.

We can't wait to get to work, said American astronaut Nicole Mann , shortly after the spacecraft docked with the Space Station (ISS).

This was SpaceX's fifth regular mission to the ISS on behalf of NASA, but the first to carry a Russian cosmonaut.

Besides Anna Kikina and Nicole Mann, the crew dubbed Crew-5 is also made up of the Japanese Koichi Wakata and the American astronaut Josh Cassada.

The takeoff of the rocket from SpaceX had taken place Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, launching the Dragon capsule into space.

This spacecraft slowly approached the ISS on Thursday, after a long journey of about 30 hours.

Crew-5 members will spend about five months in this flying laboratory, some 400 kilometers above sea level. They join the seven people already on board: two Russians, four Americans and an Italian.

A few days of handover are planned with the four members of Crew-4, before they are not sent back to Earth. They must land off the American coast, on a date that has yet to be specified.

Two weeks ago, an American took off for the ISS at aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

This long-planned astronaut exchange program was maintained despite the very high tensions between the United States and Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February. Ensuring the operation of the ISS has thus become one of the very few subjects of cooperation between the two countries.

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