Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and two other astronauts arrived Friday morning at the International Space Station, where they were greeted by three crewmembers already on board.

Minutes after entry, Hadfield -- whose first mission to the space station was in 1995 -- could be heard saying: "I love what you've done with the place."

After being greeted with open arms, Hadfield -- along with American astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian astronaut Roman Romanesko -- were able to chat with family members back home on the ground.

Hadfield had a chance to talk with his wife Helene and the couple's three children: 29-year-old Kyle and 27-year-old Evan and 26-year-old Kristin.

“Your face looks a bit puffed up,” said Evan. “Have you been smiling a lot?”

As all six astronauts sat beaming at the camera, Hadfield explained that he had indeed been smiling -- he said he was rediscovering how lucky he was to be in space.

“It’s like going up into an attic and opening up a treasure you’d forgotten about,” he said.

There was a round of laughter on the space station when Hadfield’s oldest son Kyle jokingly asked his 53-year-old father for a pony. Hadfield gave what he said was his usual answer: "Ask your mother".

When the capsule carrying the team first docked around 9:10 a.m. ET Friday morning, a NASA controller called it a "picture-perfect rendezvous."

Speaking with Hadfield and the crew over the communications link, the Canadian Space Agency’s Paul Engel said it had been a “flawless rendez-vous approach and docking,” then added, “Good luck with the mission!”

Watching it all from their living-room, Hadfield’s parents said that -- believe it or not -- they’ve gotten used to their son blasting out of the atmosphere on a rocket ship.

“We’ve been through it before,” said his mom Eleanor. “It’s still a big thrill to see him get in there.”

Hadfield is now hovering roughly 410 kilometres above the Earth, with the orbiting ISS and capsule situated over Russia, near the Pakistan border. He will spend five months in space, making history during the latter half of his stay when he becomes the first Canadian to command the ISS.

With the new arrivals, there are now six astronauts aboard the International Space Station, where they are scheduled to conduct roughly 130 experiments commissioned by scientists from around the world.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press