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LOS ANGELES: A four-man crew including Turkey’s first astronaut arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) early on Saturday for a two-week stay in the latest such mission arranged entirely at commercial expense by Texas-based startup company Axiom Space.

The rendezvous came about 37 hours after the Axiom quartet’s Thursday evening liftoff in a rocketship from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Both the Crew Dragon vessel and the Falcon 9 rocket that carried it to orbit were supplied, launched and operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX under contract with Axiom, as they were in the first two Axiom missions to the ISS since 2022.

Once the astronauts reach the space station, they fall under the responsibility of NASA’s mission control operation in Houston.

The Crew Dragon autonomously docked with the ISS at 5:42 a.m. EDT (1042 GMT) as the two space vehicles were flying roughly 250 miles (400 km) over the South Pacific, a live NASA webcast showed.

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