08:46 GMT +319 November 2019
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    BAIKONUR (Sputnik) - Russia's Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, bringing the next crew - including the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - to the orbital outpost, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan.

    The approach and docking of the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft, launched aboard a Soyuz-FG carrier rocket earlier in the day, took place in an autonomous regime.

    After the crew of the Russian Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft opened the hatch and entered the International Space Station early on Thursday, the number of crew members on board the ISS was brought to nine for the first time since 2015.

    The Soyuz spacecraft brought Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, US NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, Hazzaa Al Mansoori, to the ISS.

    Onboard the station they were welcomed by Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov, US astronauts Christina Koch, Nick Hague, Andrew Morgan, and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.

    UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori is expected to stay aboard the ISS for eight days to carry out tests divided into three parts: scientific experiments in cooperation with international partners, simple scientific experiments proposed by Emirati schoolchildren and joint educational initiatives with the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

    In April, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center selected Al Mansoori to be the country's first astronaut to fly to the ISS.

    To honor the first UAE citizen in the space, Dubai authorities have projected a spectacular light show on the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the tallest building in the world.

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    Tags:
    Dubai, Burj Khalifa, ISS, docking, astronauts, UAE, space station, Space
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