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Yelena Serova, her fellow cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyayev and American astronaut Barry Wilmore were met by Maksim Surayev, Gregory Wiseman, and Alexander Gerst, who have been working aboard the station since May this year. The new crew will work in orbit for 169 days.
The Soyuz crew members arrived at the station despite the solar array glitch. The faulty solar battery finally unfolded after the spacecraft berthed with the International Space Station.Serova is the first Russian woman cosmonaut to set out on a long space flight in the past 20 years. Her predecessor, Yelena Kondakova, made a five-month orbital flight aboard the Mir space station in 1994. Kondakova's second flight was as a mission specialist on the US Space Shuttle Atlantis in May, 1997.
When in orbit, the new crew members are to perform an extensive program for scientific studies and applied research and experiments. They will receive three Russian resupply Progress spacecraft and a European ATV space vehicle. Besides, Samokutyayev and Surayev are to make a spacewalk.