Russian Federation successfully launches manned Soyuz rocket following October failure

New ISS Crew Safely Blast Off From Kazakhstan

NASA TV

The launch marked the first crewed flight of the Soyuz since a major failure of the rocket in October when the booster malfunctioned with an astronaut and a cosmonaut aboard.

On Monday, a Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts from Russia, the USA and Canada departed from the Baikonur site in Kazakhstan run by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.

There, they'll meet the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev, the current crew of the ISS who'll use the Soyuz to return to Earth on December 20.

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

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Canada's David Saint-Jacques were aboard the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Monday as part of Expedition 58.

The Russian rocket carries US astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko‎ and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques.




Speaking before the trip on Sunday, crew commander Oleg Kononenko affirmed his crew "absolutely" trusted the flight's preparation. "We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, may occur on board".

Ms McClain, a former military pilot, said the crew "feel very ready" for their mission.

In a successful rehearsal for today's flight, a Soyuz cargo vessel took off on 16 November from Baikonur and delivered several tonnes of food, fuel and supplies to the ISS.

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.

They are set to launch at 1131 GMT Monday aboard a Soyuz from Baikonur in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission.

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", the 48-yearold said.

During their mission, members of the crew are scheduled to embark on a spacewalk to further probe a mysterious hole that caused a loss of air pressure on-board the ISS in August. Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who recorded a version of David Bowie's Space Oddity classic aboard the ISS in 2013.

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