Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Russia Successfully Launches First Manned Rocket Into Space Since October Failure

A Soyuz rocket takes flight A Soyuz rocket takes
Kristen Harrington | 05 December, 2018, 13:13

The first manned space mission to the International Space Station since an unprecedented accident in October, which raised concerns about Moscow's Soviet-designed spacecraft, will launch on Monday. Last month, two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were forced to make an emergency landing just two minutes after take-off when their Russian-made Soyuz rocket malfunctioned.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.

The Russian rocket carries USA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko‎ and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques.

It was expected the crowd on the ground watching the liftoff in Kazakhstan would include members of Saint-Jacques' family as well as Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, herself a former astronaut.

McClain Saint-Jacques and Kononenkoof before launch
McClain Saint-Jacques and Kononenkoof before

Space station veteran and mission commander Oleg Kononenko, 54, Quebec family doctor David Saint-Jacques, 48, and Anne McClain, 39, a USA army helicopter pilot who earned masters degrees from the University of Bath and Bristol in the United Kingdom, are scheduled to blast off at 2:30pm Moscow time from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said at a press conference. "We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, may occur on board".

RFE also quoted McClain, 39, saying: "We feel very ready for it".

Canada's Saint-Jacques added that Soyuz spacecraft was "incredibly safe", noting it was "actually reassuring" to witness the October aborted launch from Baikonur.

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The Soyuz was "successfully launched into orbit", Roscosmos wrote on Twitter.

The astronauts were the first sent to be sent to the space station since a crewed Soyuz launch was aborted in October after a booster rocket failed to separate properly, crippling the rocket.

Veteran Kononenko said the crew would conduct a spacewalk on December 11 as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS.

The trio aboard the rocket will be on the International Space Station for six and a half months before heading back to Earth.

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The last Canadian astronaut to visit the space station was Chris Hadfield, who was on a five-month mission that ended in May 2013.

Russian Federation suspended all manned space launches pending an investigation before giving the green light November 1. In recent years Russia's debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites.

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