SPACE CENTER, Houston -- It was moving-in day for the new crew of the international space station.
After arriving at space station Alpha over the weekend, the incoming three member crew was to swap places with the outgoing one Monday.
The replacement crew of U.S. astronaut Frank Culbertson and Russian cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin was ferried to Alpha aboard space shuttle Discovery, which arrived at the orbiting outpost Sunday afternoon.
The shuttle will be the ride back to Earth for the current station crew, which has been on Alpha since March. The new crew will stay in Alpha until December.
The linkup between Discovery and Alpha had a slight problem as the docking ring that draws them together was misaligned because of a stuck shock absorber. But shuttle astronauts quickly solved the problem.
After hatches between the two spacecraft were opened two hours later, the seven astronauts and cosmonauts aboard Discovery floated into Alpha's Destiny laboratory and greeted the station's crew with hugs and smiles.
"Hey how you doing? You ready for visitors?" asked space shuttle commander Scott Horowitz, extending his right hand to space station commander Yuri Usachev.
Culbertson, Alpha's next commander, warmly greeted Usachev. "Hello, commander," Culbertson told the Russian cosmonaut, shaking his hand and then embracing him. "How you doing?"
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