Tuesday, 25 June, 2019


3 astronauts safely aboard International Space Station

Nick Hague NASA astronaut Nick Hague prepares ahead of his October 2018 launch to the ISS. He will get to try again in 2019. NASA Victor Zelentsov
Kristine Garrett | 05 December, 2018, 18:30

The Soyuz rocket which took off from the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan has Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques on board.

The program of ISS Expedition 58 includes applied scientific research and experiments, implementation of scheduled tasks associated with the station's maintenance and outfitting the station with equipment delivered by the cargo transports, as well as the EVA performance.

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. The launch was successful, and the Soyuz spacecraft docked with the ISS at 17:23 GMT.

There are now six people calling the International Space Station home, with the arrival of three fresh faces on Tuesday.

She launched from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:31 GMT with two other crew members.

They'll stay aboard the space station for about 6.5 months performing science and learning how to live in space. In the October malfunction on the Soyuz, the first ever in Russia's post-Soviet history, it was found that a sensor had failed.

The three current inhabitants - Alexander Gerst of Germany, Serena Auñón-Chancellor of the United States and Sergey Prokopyev of Russian Federation - plan to return December 20 aboard a Soyuz module that has been docked to the station since June.

This is the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the abortive blastoff of the Soyuz carrier rocket on October 11.

The Soviet-designed Soyuz rocket is now the world's only lifeline to the ISS.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11, activating an automatic rescue system that sent their capsule into a steep ride back to Earth. NASA announced Monday that Hague and Ovchinin will now launch to the space station on February 28, along with NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

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. It will reunite Hague and Ovchinin for a second shot at their Soyuz MS-10 mission, which was foiled when one of the four Soyuz strap-on rockets did not detach properly and impacted the core stage about two minutes after launch. That triggered the Soyuz spacecraft's launch abort system, sending the spacecraft away from the damaged rocket.

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