Three new crew members are on their way to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft launched Wednesday from Kazakhstan.
It will take NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy about six hours to reach the station, a quick rendezvous speed for Soyuz launches. The Russian space agency is reintroducing a technique that allows for shorter travel times to the station.
The three crew members will join Russian Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, NASA’s Karen Nyberg and Italian Luca Parmitano in orbit.
Hopkins will be a key part of NASA’s Train Like an Astronaut program, and the fitness enthusiast is expected to record workout videos in space to help motivate young people to stay fit.
On Nov. 7, the station will host the Olympic torch for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Russian cosmonauts aboard the station are scheduled to take the unlit torch along on a spacewalk.
Crew members are expecting another arrival Sunday when Orbital Science’s unmanned Cygnus cargo ship is scheduled to dock with the station early that morning.