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Minnesota astronaut Nyberg arrives at space station for six-month stay

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Astronaut Karen Nyberg has arrived at the International Space Station, which is a very long way from Vining, Minnesota.

The town in Otter Tail County is where Nyberg grew up. Her 3:31 p.m. liftoff from a base in Kazakhstan was the focus of a number of watch parties in the area, WDAY reports.

In Henning, the town of 801 residents where Nyberg attended school, the entire town threw a watch party -- something the NASA folks tell WDAY is unprecedented as far as they know. Her sister made the rounds of classrooms with a life-sized cardboard cutout of Nyberg, allowing students to pose for photos with their school's famous alum.

For a glimpse of what they saw, watch the launch live at NASA's website.

Free live streaming by Ustream

The Soyuz spacecraft spent six hours in space before successfully docking at the space station. She arrived with Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, NASA says.

It's a return trip to the ISS for Nyberg, who served one mission there previously. This time she's planning to be aboard the ship for six months.

Nyberg, who holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering, has a 3-year-old son, Jack. USA Today examines how an astronaut balances parenthood with her career. She talks more about that in this interview:

Nyberg and son, Jack. NASA image.

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