Soyuz rocket lifts off with new crew for ISS

Christopher Davidson
December 4, 2018

The launch comes after a Soyuz rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, American astronaut Anne McClain, and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques successfully launched at 6:31 a.m. ET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and went into orbit a short time later.

Three astronauts who launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have entered the International Space Station after spending almost eight hours in their tiny capsule.

Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space.

Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, who is now onboard the space station, are also scheduled for a spacewalk to examine the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft from the outside.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Sergei Prokopyev of Roscosmos will greet the trio when they arrive at the ISS.

They are set to launch at 1131 GMT on Monday, December 3, aboard a Soyuz from Baikonur in Kazakhstan for a 6-and-a-half month mission.

Soyuz rocket lifts off with new crew for ISS

Three astronauts have successfully blasted off to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a flawless launch that follows October's aborted mission.

The trio will be flying in the same kind of Soyuz launch craft and FG rocket booster that crashed at Baikonur in October, almost costing the lives of Russian commander Alexei Ovchinin and Nasa astronaut Nick Hague. They managed to emerge safely from a harrowing ordeal.

Russian investigators blamed that malfunction, which occurred as the first and second stages of a booster rocket separated, on a damaged sensor.

He said Ovchinin and Hague would be on board, along with NASA's Christina Koch.

Russian space officials have taken measures to prevent the repeat of such incidents. Since the October mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos docked with the station at 11:33 p.m. (1723 GMT; 12:33 p.m. EST) Monday.

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.

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