MOSCOW - A Russian spacecraft carrying three astronauts from the United States, Britain, and Russia has docked successfully at the International Space Station, and the docking was drawing special attention in Britain.
NASA's live broadcast from the Russian Mission Control showed the Soyuz spacecraft mooring smoothly at the space outpost Tuesday about 61/2 hours after lifting off from Baikonur launchpad in Kazakhstan.
Aboard are Russian Yuri Malenchenko, Timothy Kopra of NASA, and Briton Timothy Peake, representing the European Space Agency.
Malenchenko docked on manual controls after automatic docking was aborted for an unspecified reason.
The trio will spend six months aboard the outpost. Already aboard are Russians Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Korniyenko, along with American Scott Kelly. The latter two have been on the station since March and are on a yearlong mission.
The launch went off with no reported problems and the capsule entered orbit about nine minutes after liftoff, at an altitude of about 125 miles.
The mission has special resonance in Britain, which is experiencing a surge of space mania thanks to its first official astronaut.
Peake, 43, a former army helicopter pilot, is not the first Briton in space. Helen Sharman visited Russia's Mir station in 1991 on a privately backed mission, and several British-born American citizens flew with NASA's shuttle program.
Peake is Britain's first publicly funded British astronaut and the first Briton to visit the International Space Station.
After decades of declining to invest in human space flight, the government has been raising Britain's space aspirations. Peake's voyage has helped millions of Britons rediscover an excited interest in outer space.
Aboard the space station, Peake will conduct experiments on how the human body reacts in space.
And in a distinctly British contribution, he will try out a new tea-making process that lets him remove the teabag from the drink pouches used in zero gravity.