A Russian spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut has safely docked with the International Space Station.

NASA has confirmed that Samantha Cristoforetti, along with Russian Anton Shkaplerov and American Terry Virts, made contact with orbiting space lab this week.

“A new vehicle has arrived. The Soyuz is confirmed as attached properly,” over 400km above the Pacific Ocean, NASA television said.

The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft docked after a six hour journey from Russia's space facility in Kazakhstan.

Aside from its human pilots, the ship carried some vital supplies for scientists onboard the space station, including over a kilo of caviar, apples, oranges, tomatoes, freeze dried milk and black tea without sugar

Most excitingly though, Italian coffee maker Lavazza has collaborated with engineering firm Argotec to design and deliver a 20kg zero-gravity espresso machine.

A joint statement from the company said Captain Cristoforetti “will be not only the first female astronaut from Italy to go into space, but also the very first astronaut in the history of the conquest of space to savour an authentic Italian espresso in orbit.”

The International Space Station is constantly staffed by a team of astronauts, who stay in orbit for periods of up to six months.

The $500 billion floating laboratory is expected to remain in service until 2024.