Russia's Soyuz blasts off on first manned mission since October failure

Katie Ramirez
December 5, 2018

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency representative David Saint-Jacques and Oleg Konenenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will spend the next six and a half months in global the space lab. Last month, two astronauts from the USA and Russia were forced to make an emergency landing just two minutes after take-off when their Russian-made Soyuz rocket malfunctioned.

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.

McClain, Saint-Jacques, and Kononenkoof before launch.

Nasa administrator, Jim Bridenstine confirmed on Twitter that the crew were "safely in orbit" and thanked the U.S. and Russian teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".

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

The trio on board appeared in front of reporters before the launch, waving and blowing kisses as they repeatedly denied being nervous about the flight.

At a press conference the night before the launch, crew commander Kononenko said the astronauts "absolutely" trusted teams preparing for the flight.

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board".

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

Russian Federation said last month the launch of the Soyuz rocket failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome.

Since the October mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday.

The ISS went a crew of three.

The existing ISS crew is supposed to get its ride back home in a Soyuz capsule that is docked to the station.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled at 5:31 p.m. (1131 GMT; 6:31 a.m. EST) Monday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

McClain, 39, served in Iraq and has represented the United States in women's rugby.

The past few months had been tense at Roscosmos, Russia's space agency.

Astronaut Hague and cosmonaut Ovchinin will once again attempt to join the ISS crew on February 28, 2019, alongside Christina Hammock Koch.

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