The crew of the Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft have met with the colleagues aboard the International Space Station, the Interfax news agency reported quoting Russian mission control.

The space rendezvous could be seen on video monitors at mission control.

The Soyuz TMA-10 brought the 15th long-duration expedition to the ISS, comprising Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, and U.S. space tourist Charles Simonyi, who will spend ten days in space. Simonyi is to take pictures and do the video filming, perform scientific experiments and take part in radio linkups with the earth, including in educational programs. He said at a pre-flight news conference in the Star City outside Moscow that he would record his space experiences on his Internet blog .

Simonyi is the fifth space tourist to fly into space aboard Russia’s Soyuz. His predecessors are Denis Tito (2001) and Gregory Olsen (2005), both of the United States; Mark Shuttleworth of South Africa (2002) and the world’s first female space tourist Anousheh Ansari — a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin, who flew to the ISS in 2006. Each of them had paid about $20 million for the flight.

Yurchikhin and Kotov will spend 189 days at the ISS. They will conduct 41 scientific experiments and perform at least two space walks under a program to build the ISS. Expedition 15 will also receive two American space shuttles and two Progress supply ships.

The ISS is currently being run by a Russian-American crew comprising Mikhail Tyurin and NASA astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria and Sunita Williams. Williams will stay on at the ISS with Yurchikhin and Kotov, and will return to the earth aboard a U.S. space shuttle in June.

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