Soyuz rocket launches astronauts to the International Space Station

Pablo Tucker
December 3, 2018

A Russian Soyuz rocket sent three spacefliers to the International Space Station today, marking a return to normal operations after a hardware problem spoiled a similar flight in October.

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

Last month, Roscosmos tweeted a video of the October 11 failed Soyuz rocket launch that forced NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin into making a harrowing emergency landing.

Soyuz rocket launches astronauts to the International Space Station

Russian Federation said last month, the October launch had failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable. Russian investigators determined that one of the Soyuz rocket's side boosters didn't separate cleanly, due to a problem with a bent sensor.

The Soyuz lifted off at 1131 GMT from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques. McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will now complete a six-month mission aboard the ISS, where they will complete experiments and test new technologies.

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board", the 54-year-old said.


Russia's space agency Roscosmos has now successfully launched five Soyuz rockets since the incident, and does not believe there is a chance of the failure repeating.

They'll spend about six hours in orbit before docking at the ISS around 12:30 p.m, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.

Russian Federation said last month the October launch had failed because of a sensor damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome, but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.


The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the United States retired the space shuttle in 2011.

Reports say a Russian Orthodox priest blessed their rocket before its flight on Monday, as per tradition.

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 iNewsToday

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