After a two-day flight, the space capsule “Soyuz MS-25” docked with the International Space Station (ISS). “Oleg Novitsky, Marina Vasilevskaya and Tracy Dyson have arrived at the station,” said the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Russian cosmonaut and the two astronauts from Belarus and the USA set off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in Central Asia last Saturday – but only on the second attempt. The original start had been planned two days earlier, but had to be unexpectedly canceled 20 seconds before ignition due to a technical problem.

International cooperation in space continues despite Russia’s war against Ukraine and associated US sanctions. US astronauts repeatedly fly to the ISS in Russian spaceships and vice versa. This mission marked the first time that two women flew aboard a Soyuz capsule to humanity’s outpost 400 kilometers above Earth. There has already been a female duo on a Soyuz return from the ISS.

The flight was also a first for Belarus, which is an ally of Russia: 33-year-old cosmonaut Vasilevskaya, who works as a flight attendant at the state-owned company Belavia, is the first woman in her country to fly into space.

According to Roscosmos, Vasilevskaya is scheduled to return to Earth on April 6th together with Novitsky and the American Loral O’Hara, who has been on the ISS since last September. Astronaut Dyson will stay on the ISS until September and then begin the journey home with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Tschub.