Three astronauts arrived at the International Space Station in just three hours using a new fast track maneuver.

NASA’s Kate Robins, along with Russian Space Agency astronauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Cod-Sverichko, set off from the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan early Wednesday morning.

The launch used a two-orbital approach for three hours for the first time.

Previously, it took twice as long to reach the station.

The trio succeeded in docking with the International Space Station at 4.48 a.m. ET, and NASA tweeted, after launch at 1.45 a.m.

They will join station captain Chris Cassady, as well as astronauts Anatoly Evanshin and Evan Wagner, who have been on board the ship since April and are due to return to Earth next week.

At a pre-launch press conference, Robins said the crew spent weeks in quarantine at the Star City training facility outside Moscow, and then in Baikonur, to make sure they did not contract the coronavirus.

More from the International Space Station

They will spend six months on the space station, 253 miles (408 kilometers) above Earth.

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They take off on the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. Pic: Roscosmos / Reuters

The mission comes on the heels of a launch earlier in October Special food delivery To the International Space Station, including meats, cheese, oranges, walnuts, and chocolate-covered cranberries – just in time for the American Thanksgiving holiday.

The Cygnus capsule contained more fresh food than usual, as the number of people on the space station will increase from six to seven with the launch of the second SpaceX astronaut at the end of the month.

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It also included compressed air tanks to help compensate Leak in the space station; A new $ 23 million (£ 18 million) titanium toilet designed for women, a VR camera that will provide cinematic spacewalks and other outdoor scenes from space.