MOSCOW - A Russian spacecraft carrying an American, a Russian and a Japanese astronaut docked successfully at the International Space Station yesterday, officials said.

Russia's Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin said the Soyuz TMA-17 hooked up with the station using an automatic docking system.

The spacecraft was launched Monday from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

American Timothy J. Creamer, Soichi Noguchi of Japan, and Russia's Oleg Kotov have joined the station's current inhabitants, American Jeff Williams and Russian Maxim Surayev.

Creamer, who is making his maiden voyage to space, has promised to keep people back on earth up-to-date via Twitter.

Noguchi is heading back to space for his second time and is the first professional Japanese astronaut to fly aboard the Soyuz.

The station's permanent crew consisted of no more than three people until earlier this year, when it doubled to six for the first time.