A Russian Soyuz craft carrying an American computer game designer and two crewmates docked with the international space station Tuesday.

The TMA-13 capsule automatically latched onto the station a few minutes ahead of schedule, two days after blasting off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Aboard the capsule was space traveler Richard Garriott, who paid a reported US$30 million for a 10-day stay on the station.

Garriott's father, Owen, applauded as he watched the docking from Russian Mission Control outside Moscow.

"I'm pleased everything is going smoothly. It's looking great and they are starting off on a fascinating new adventure," he told The Associated Press.

"There was not a lot of nervousness today or during the launch. We were confident it would go well," he said.

Also aboard were U.S. astronaut Michael Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov. They will replace the station's current crew and spend several months in orbit.

The trio will enter the station when the hatches are opened in several hours.

Garriott will return to Earth on Oct. 23 with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Volkov, who has been at the station since April.

Volkov was the first man to follow his father, a decorated cosmonaut from the Soviet era, into space.

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