Wednesday, 16 January, 2019


Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launches three astronauts to ISS

Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launches three astronauts to ISS Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launches three astronauts to ISS
Kristine Garrett | 05 December, 2018, 14:47

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 International Space Station is about to get three new residents.

The previous launch - involving NASA's Nick Hague and Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin - had to be aborted after the first stage of the rocket failed to separate as planned.

More than usual was riding on Monday's launch, as NASA officials warned that if the Soyuz failed to reach the ISS this time, the station would likely have to be temporarily abandoned, leaving it empty for the first time in its 18-year history.

Three astronauts successfully blasted off Monday to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a flawless launch that follows October's aborted mission.

On Monday, Dec. 3, veteran Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, American astronaut Anne McClain, and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

That's when a rocket failure forced the Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts to make an emergency landing.

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

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

McClain, Saint-Jacques, and Kononenkoof are expected to live and work on the station for about 6.5 months. She offered Saint-Jacques a "Bravo, bravo, bravo" and told the space station crew they were an inspiration for humanity.

Crew commander Mr Kononenko said: "Risk is part of our profession".

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board", the 54-year-old said. Its current crew - Sergey Prokopyev, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, and Commander Alexander Gerst - will return to Earth on December 20.

Ahead of Monday's launch a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the spaceship on its launchpad, in accordance with tradition, while the crew spoke calmly of the dangers involved.

"Welcome to Space! The trio is now safely in orbit and solar arrays have successfully deployed on their Soyuz spacecraft".

"Space represents a lot of opportunities for a lot of Canadians", he said at the agency office.

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.

The last Canadian astronaut to visit the space station was Chris Hadfield, who was on a five-month mission that ended in May 2013.

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