Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Manned Soyuz rocket successfully launched into space

Three astronauts set to launch to ISS tomorrow Astronauts to try for space station on Russian rocket after October crash
Doris Mccormick | 05 December, 2018, 14:48

A Russian, an American and a Canadian astronaut will take off for the worldwide space station on Monday in the first manned launch of a Soyuz rocket since a crash in October.

The trio blasted off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket two months after a similar rocket launched from the same site malfunctioned, forcing astronauts Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague to make an emergency re-entry.

This will be the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle crash on October 11.

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

Click on the video above at 6 a.m. ET to watch live coverage of Saint-Jacques's launch.

Crew commander Kononenko, 54, said during a press conference on the eve of the launch that "risk is part of our profession".

McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, said the crew looked forward to going up.

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"Well, we have to loop around the earth", McClain said, adding "I'll be over Seattle in about the time it'll take you get back from the buses".

Saint-Jacques joked that he had received so much training ahead of the flight "that I felt at the end that I could build a Soyuz in my backyard".

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.

Following that accident, Russia's space agency Roscomos suspended all manned Soyuz flights, cutting off the only way to get astronauts to the ISS. The spacecraft made four orbits over six hours as it chased down the space station for the docking.

Space officials breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.

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.

The new arrivals to the ISS will join the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, who have been in orbit since June but are due to fly back to Earth on December 20. Plus, it's the first time a Canadian astronaut (Saint-Jacques) is headed to space since Chris Hadfield, who lead the International Space Station five years ago and was known for his publicity success.

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