Astronauts to try for space station on Russian rocket after October crash

Christopher Davidson
December 3, 2018

Cosmonauts will head to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a spacecraft Soyuz MS-11.

NASA's Anne McClain, Canada's David Saint-Jacques and Russia's Oleg Kononenko lifted off from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan into sunset skies as scheduled at 5:31 p.m. local time (3:31 a.m. PT).

The crew was reporting that all was going well in the critical initial minutes after liftoff and were safely in orbit.

Two different spacefliers - NASA's Nick Hague and Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin - were supposed to have joined the crew on October 11, but their flight was aborted during the rocket's ascent, forcing them to return to Earth.

The families of the crew, astronauts and space officials from several nations breathed a sigh of relief Monday after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.

Ahead of Monday's launch a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the spaceship on its launchpad, in accordance with tradition, while the crew spoke calmly of the dangers involved.

"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said.

Astronauts to try for space station on Russian rocket after October crash

During their mission, members of the crew are scheduled to embark on a spacewalk to further probe a mysterious hole that caused a loss of air pressure on-board the ISS in August.

"We feel very ready for it", she said.

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.

Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space. CBC News Network will also broadcast the interactive special featuring Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Specialists and rescuers gather near the Soyuz capsule transporting USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, after it made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan.

But the space agency's chief executive, former deputy prime minister Dimitry Rogozin, has been bullish about the project, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

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