Russian rocket launches trio to space station, two months after aborted trip

Christopher Davidson
December 4, 2018

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

This was the first time people rode on one of the Russian rockets since October 11, when two and a half minutes after takeoff, one of the Soyuz MS-10's four boosters broke off, sending the aircraft spinning out of control.

Their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes after the launch and is set to dock at the space outpost in about six hours.

The launch was the first 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.

McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will spend more than six months at the space station doing research and experiments in biology, Earth science, physical sciences and technology.

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques - reached orbit about 10 minutes after taking off from Kazakhstan on the Soyuz MS-11 rocket.

"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said at a press conference.

Tribune Media and Nexstar in $4.1bn local TV takeover
Apollo also approached Nexstar this summer about acquiring it, but was rebuffed, Reuters previously reported. The agreement between Nexstar and Tribune Media could be announced by Monday, according to the sources.

The mission marked the 100th orbital launch of 2018, and the first time in 28 years that humanity reached that number of launches within a calendar year.

Investigators blamed a faulty sensor which they said had been damaged during assembly at the Kazakh site.

A rehearsal unmanned flight, which delivered cargo including food and fuel supplies, was successfully carried out in mid-November.

After the Soyuz docks with the space station, the mission is expected to last 194 days, according to TASS, which means the trio will remain on board through July 2019.

The station's current crew of NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst were waiting to greet the newcomers.

The accident highlighted the "smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch", he said.

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

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER