University of Colorado graduate, Steve Swanson, arrives at International Space Station

DENVER - University of Colorado graduate and veteran astronaut Steve Swanson arrived at the International Space Station Thursday, after a delay aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The team hugged the existing crew upon their arrival.

Immediately, the new crew was able to connect with their loved ones on the ground.  

Swanson was given well wishes from his parents, Stanley and June Swanson.

"Hi Steve, This is Dad. I'm happy you're there even though you took the scenic route to arrive. We're anticipating your having a very successful six months and I'm glad to see that you're with a lot of friends that you've known before and I know you'll accomplish many things," Stanley Swanson told his son.

Swanson and two Russian cosmonauts blasted off from Kazakhstan on Wednesday on what was supposed to be a six-hour "fast track" to the space station. But an engine burn intended to adjust the Soyuz spacecraft's path never occurred, delaying the docking. The American and two Russians on board were not in danger.

When they finally did arrive, the Soyuz and International Space Station docked at 5:53 p.m. MT. Six minutes later, the two vehicles confirmed a hard seal and began the process of opening the hatches between them.

Swanson, who is making his third trip in space, grew up in Steamboat Springs. He now lives in Houston with his wife Mary and their three children.

Flying aboard NASA's space shuttles before they were retired, Swanson helped to construct the ISS.

"You're holding on to a handrail and you look down and 250 miles below you is earth," he said, drawing on the experience of his previous space walks outside the ISS.

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