October 3, 2005

Russia-US crew, tourist board space station

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian-U.S. two-man crew and the
world's third space tourist boarded the International Space
Station safely on Monday, two days after they blasted off from
the Central Asian steppe.

The new arrivals, who traveled to the orbiting station on a
Russian Soyuz spacecraft, were U.S. Commander William McArthur,
Russian Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, and American scientist
and entrepreneur Gregory Olsen.

Russian television showed them drifting weightlessly
through hatches like swimmers before greeting Russian cosmonaut
Sergei Krikalev and U.S. astronaut John Phillips, who have
lived on the station since April.

"They've met up. Now they'll probably start slowly bringing
cargo on board. They always bring presents, letters from
family," a spokeswoman at Moscow mission control said.

Olsen is due to return to Earth with the outgoing crew next
week, while McArthur and Tokarev are at the start of a grueling
six-month stay in orbit.

U.S. businessman Dennis Tito became the world's first space
tourist in 2001, followed by South African Mark Shuttleworth in
2002. Each trip reportedly came with a $20 million price tag.