Soyuz spacecraft has docked at the International Space Station (ISS) after a journey of less than six hours.
The three-man crew is the first to take the quicker route, involving just four orbits.
The journey normally takes two days for a Russian spacecraft.
The arrival of Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin and Chris Cassidy of the US brings the number of crew at the ISS to six.
Soyuz spacecraft has docked at the ISS after a journey of less than six hours
The crew launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
After lift-off at 20:43 GMT, the Soyuz capsule then entered orbit and, using intricate ballistics manoeuvres, succeeded in cutting out around 30 orbits and 45 hours from the flight time to the ISS.
Prior to the flight, the shortened route had been successfully tested three times by Russian Progress cargo ships, which are unmanned versions of the Soyuz that transport supplies to the ISS.
The three new arrivals are due to return to Earth in September. The other three members of the ISS crew arrived in December and will leave in May.
Over the next six months the crew will perform 137 investigations on the US operating segment of the station, and 44 on the Russian segment, according to a statement from the US space agency, NASA.
NASA said that the investigations will cover human research, biological and physical sciences, technology development, Earth observation, and education.
Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-05M carrying a three-man crew has blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS).
The Soyuz rocket set off from Kazakhstan at 02:40 GMT on Sunday with Russian, Japanese and American astronauts on board.
They are set to dock with the ISS, a $100 billion research complex orbiting around 385 km (240 miles) above Earth, early on Tuesday.
NASA said the Soyuz TMA-05M rocket had a “smooth ride into space”.
Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-05M carrying a three-man crew has blasted off for the International Space Station
The astronauts on board, veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, NASA’s Sunitia Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide will join three others on board the ISS.
NASA flight engineer Joseph Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin are already living aboard the space station, which is set to receive an unprecedented level of traffic over the next few weeks.
According to the Associated Press news agency, a Japanese cargo ship will dock with the station next week, followed by a further eight craft making contact with the orbiting satellite.
NASA ended its space shuttle programme in July 2011, and since then US astronauts have depended on Russian Soyuz flights for transport to reach the International Space Station.