Two Soviet cosmonauts and their Afghan guest joined two other cosmonauts Wednesday aboard the Mir space station 49 hours after blasting off from the Bai-konur space center, the Tass news agency said.
"The international Soviet-Afghan crew consisting of Vladimir Lyak-hov, Valery Polyakov and Afghan research cosmonaut Abdol Ahad Moh-mand moved from the Soyuz TM-6 space ship to the Soviet long-duration research complex Mir," Tass said.The Soyuz rocket docked at the space station at 9:41 a.m., 49 hours after liftoff Monday morning, the news agency said.
"According to radio talks with the crew, the cosmonauts are feeling well," Tass said. "The onboard systems and scientific equipment of the manned complex Mir are functioning normally."
The presence of the doctor in the final stages of an endurance flight is a new modification in the Soviet program.
"A distinguishing feature of the medico-biological experiments to be performed during the joint flight is direct participation of a researcher physician in them," Tass said.
"The cosmonauts are to carry out a large amount of visual observation and photography of the territory of the Republic of Afghanistan with a view to solving various tasks pertaining to science and the national economy of that country," the agency said. It did not elaborate.
The rendezvous took place only two days into the eight-day mission to "save some energy" and to help the crew better adapt itself to weightlessness and get down to work, Tass said.