Three astronauts who launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have entered the International Space Station after spending almost eight hours in their tiny capsule.
It will be the fourth visit to the ISS for Russian cosmonaut Mr Kononenko, while the trip will be the first for both Anne McClain from the USA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.
They successfully docked at the ISS on schedule at 1736 GMT to begin an expected six and a half months aboard the ISS, the Russian Roscosmos space agency said via Twitter.
Speaking before the trip on Sunday, crew commander Oleg Kononenko affirmed his crew "absolutely" trusted the flight's preparation.
The trio will be flying in the same kind of Soyuz launch craft and FG rocket booster that crashed at Baikonur in October, almost costing the lives of Russian commander Alexei Ovchinin and Nasa astronaut Nick Hague.
Since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011, Russian Soyuz rockets have been the only way to get people to the International Space Station.
"Risk is part of our profession", he stated.
The incident became the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.
"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board".
McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, said the crew looked forward to going up.
Veteran Kononenko said the crew would conduct a spacewalk on 11 December as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS. The most experienced of the main crew is Kononenko, who went to the ISS for the fourth time, McClane and Saint-Jacques still have no experience of space flights. Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who recorded a version of David Bowie's Space Oddity classic aboard the ISS in 2013.
The past few months had been tense at Roscosmos, Russia's space agency.