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Sorry, Santa — these space travelers won't be home for Christmas.

A Russian cosmonaut and astronauts from the United States and Japan arrived at the International Space Station today (Dec. 19) to kick off a six-month space mission. And in the true Christmas spirit, they brought gifts. [Holidays in Space: An Astronaut Photo Album]

Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Norishige Kanai docked their Russian-built Soyuz spacecraft at the station at 3:39 a.m. EST (0839 GMT) as both craft sailed high over the "boot" of Italy, NASA officials said. The trio joined three other crewmembers already aboard — Americans Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, and Russian Alexander Misurkin — to round out the station's Expedition 54 crew.

The International Space Station's full Expedition 54 crew speaks to family members and mission officials from the Zvezda control module after the arrival of NASA astronaut Scott Tingle (bottom left), cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (bottom center) and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai (bottom right) on Dec. 19, 2017. Also pictured are: NASA astronauts Joe Acaba (top left), cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin (top center) and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei.
The International Space Station's full Expedition 54 crew speaks to family members and mission officials from the Zvezda control module after the arrival of NASA astronaut Scott Tingle (bottom left), cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (bottom center) and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai (bottom right) on Dec. 19, 2017. Also pictured are: NASA astronauts Joe Acaba (top left), cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin (top center) and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei.
Credit: NASA TV

One thing is certain: It's going to be a festive time in space in the days ahead.

"We [already] have a Christmas tree aboard, and there is a new Christmas tree arriving soon," Shkaplerov told reporters Saturday (Dec. 16), one day before he, Tingle and Kanai launched into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan. "We have packages and gifts from our families and friends, and packages on board the ISS labeled to open on Dec. 25 for U.S. crewmembers and Dec. 31 for us from Russia."

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency arrives at the International Space Station on Dec. 19, 2017, just in time for the holidays.
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency arrives at the International Space Station on Dec. 19, 2017, just in time for the holidays.
Credit: NASA TV

Shkaplerov is making his third spaceflight on this mission, while Tingle and Kanai are on their first flight. The three men will serve as part of the Expedition 54 crew through February, then stay on as the Expedition 55 crew after Acaba, Vande Hei and Misurkin return to Earth.

Shkaplerov, Tingle and Kanai will return to Earth in June, NASA officials have said. 

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.