Astronauts to try for space station on Russian rocket after October crash
Astronauts to try for space station on Russian rocket after October crash
Anne Charlotte McClain Oleg Kononenko and David Saint Jacques
04 December, 2018, 04:59
Stakes were high for Monday's launch, the first to carry a crew since a previous mission to the space station in October was aborted two minutes into the flight after a booster failed to properly separate from the rocket.
NASAastronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency representative David Saint-Jacques and Oleg Konenenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will spend the next six and a half months in global the space lab.
The families of the crew, other astronauts and space officials from several nations breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch, with October's Soyuz rocket failure still on the minds of many.
It was the first manned launch for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing.
But today, everything went precisely according to plan, with an on-schedule and anomaly-free liftoff at 6:31 a.m. EST (1131 GMT). The trio is set to dock with the ISS six hours later.
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Crew commander Kononenko, 54, said during a press conference on the eve of the launch that "risk is part of our profession".
It is the first attempt to send astronauts to space after a mission in October that saw two crew members only narrowly escape after being forced to make an emergency landing just minutes after take-off.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine meanwhile thanked the United States and Russian teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.
"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board".
NASA astronaut Anne McClain (from left), Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency successfully blasted into space on Monday morning.
RFE also quoted McClain, 39, saying: "We feel very ready for it".
The Soyuz spacecraft is now the only vehicle that can ferry crews to the space station, but Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.
Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian resident of the International Space Station since Chris Hadfield, who was on a five-month mission that ended in May 2013.
The station's current crew of NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst were waiting to greet the newcomers.
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