Army helicopter pilot spending 6 months on International Space Station

Christopher Davidson
December 5, 2018

Liftoff of Soyuz MS-11 was on time at 6:31 am ET this morning, carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, astronaut of the Canadian space Agency, David Saint-Jacques and his wife Anne McClain - moved on the global space station (ISS), RIA Novosti reported. The spacecraft made four orbits over six hours as it chased down the space station for the docking. The launch was successful, and the Soyuz spacecraft docked with the ISS at 17:23 GMT.

The three astronauts onboard Russia's Soyuz rocket have safely reached the International Space Station.

This is the first time a crew has launched to the space station since a failed Soyuz launch in October led to an abort that brought both crewmembers (safely) back to Earth not long after launch.

The three newest members will then officially begin Expedition 58, which will see them stay on the ISS conducting hundreds of science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

As Soyuz rockets are now the only means for astronauts to reach the International Space Station, Monday's launch was closely watched. Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and Prokopyev are scheduled to remain aboard the station until December 20.

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But most importantly, this is the crew that will handle the first flight tests for NASA's Commercial Crew program.

An helicopter pilot and will strap into a Soyuz rocket on Monday for the trip from Kazakhstan to the, according to a release from Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

In March 2019, the station will again return to a full complement of six crew members when they are joined for Expedition 59 by NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos. It was the first manned launch for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blastoff, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing.

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

Taking to micro-blogging website Twitter, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed that the crew were "safely in orbit" and thanked the United States and Russian teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".

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