Baby Yoda joins crew on International Space Station

In NASA's first full-fledged mission ferrying a crew into orbit on a privately-owned spacecraft, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule dubbed Resilience opened its hatch door shortly after 1 a.m. EST (0600 GMT), two hours after docking and 27 hours after launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

A few minutes later, the four astronauts - three American and one Japanese - emerged from the capsule and boarded the station along with a toy Baby Yoda, to greet the existing crew of one U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts with hugs and high-fives.

The space station, an orbital laboratory orbiting about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, will be their home for the next six months. After that, another set of astronauts on a Crew Dragon capsule will replace them. That rotation will continue until Boeing joins the programme with its own spacecraft late next year.