Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and his two fellow space travellers arrived Friday at the International Space Station and were welcomed by the three crewmembers already on board.
Hadfield, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and cosmonaut Roman Romanenko travelled two days in the capsule before linking up with the space station's Russian Rassvet research module.
Minutes after entry, Hadfield could be heard saying in English: "I love what you've done with the place."
After a round of handshakes and bearhugs, the three men chatted with family members on the ground through a video linkup.
Hadfield had a chance to talk with his wife Helene, his two sons, 29-year-old Kyle and 27-year-old Evan and his daughter Kristin, who is 26.
"It was just a heck of a ride for the three of us. It's like being on a crazy dragster, just a fun, crazy zip up to space," Hadfield told them.
There was a round of laughter on the space station, when the eldest asked his father for a pony.
Hadfield's responded that Christmas was coming and he gave what he said was his usual answer: "Ask your mother".
The three space-bound astronauts left Earth after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday
During his five-month visit, Hadfield will become the first Canadian to command the giant orbiting space laboratory when he takes over on March 14.
This is the third space journey for the 53-year-old space veteran.
Hadfield's first space trip was in November 1995 when he visited the Russian Space Station Mir.
His second voyage was a visit to the International Space Station in April 2001, when he also performed two space walks.
-With files from The Associated Press