The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked on the International Space Station, carrying three new crew members who will be living aboard until December. The trio's arrival brings the total ISS residents to six.
Yurchikin and Fischer will return to Earth on June 2 after a 135-day mission, and filling the third seat of their flight is astronaut Whitson. Soyuz MS-04 is the 50th Soyuz spacecraft launched to the ISS.
Due to Russia's decision to send only one instead of two cosmonauts in its supposed two-Russian crew transport cycle, there will be a smaller crew number aboard the ISS in 2017.
The Russian space agency announced its plan to launch a manned mission to the moon and starts simulating lunar landing.