Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Soyuz arrives at ISS on first manned mission since October failure

Soyuz arrives at ISS on first manned mission since October failure

Saint-Jacques has spent years training for the six-month mission, which was originally scheduled for December 20 but was moved up after the aborted Soyuz launch.

After launching at 11.31am GMT the three are set to dock at the International Space Station at exactly 5.36pm GMT.

The crew will then spend six-and-a-half-months on board the station.

It was the first manned mission since a failed launch in October.

Since the mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday.

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The International Space Station offers an unbelievably cool perspective on rocket launches, as European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst proved with three incredible photographs of a crewed Soyuz rocket that lifted off today (Dec. 3).

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

"We have confirmation of the spacecraft separation; Soyuz capsule and crew safely in orbit", NASA TV said online in its blow-by-blow commentary of the take-off. Last month, two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were forced to make an emergency landing just two minutes after take-off when their Russian-made Soyuz rocket malfunctioned.

The Soyuz accident in October was the first aborted crew launch for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch pad explosion.

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

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Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques smiled and gave thumbs up to the cheering crowd including relatives as they ascended into the Soyuz capsule on Monday morning.

The Soyuz was "successfully launched into orbit", Roscosmos wrote on Twitter.

The evening before the launch, crew commander Oleg Kononenko said the astronauts "absolutely" had trust in the flight preparations. "We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, may occur on board".

The past few months had been tense at Roscosmos, Russia's space agency. 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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