Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
Science | By

Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launches three astronauts to ISS

Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launches three astronauts to ISS

Their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft launched from Baikonur at 5:31 p.m. (1131 GMT; 6:31 a.m. EST) then entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes later.

Space station veteran and mission commander Oleg Kononenko, 54, Quebec family doctor David Saint-Jacques, 48, and Anne McClain, 39, a USA army helicopter pilot who earned masters degrees from the University of Bath and Bristol in the United Kingdom, are scheduled to blast off at 2:30pm Moscow time from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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.

"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said at a press conference. "We feel very ready for it", she said.

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.

A Soyuz spacecraft with three crew onboard blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS) Monday.


McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will spend more than six months at the space station doing research and experiments in biology, Earth science, physical sciences and technology.

The spacecraft is due to dock at the ISS at 1736 GMT on Monday. The Russian rocket carries US astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko‎ and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques.

After Monday's successful launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his thanks to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin and to NASA and Roscosmos space teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success". The three Expedition 57 members are expected to stay in space for 194 days. They should reach the International Space Station by noon.

Saint-Jacques joked that he had received so much training ahead of the flight "that I felt at the end that I could build a Soyuz in my backyard".

McClain served in Iraq and has represented the United States in women's rugby.

Russia-US cooperation in space has remained one of the few areas not affected by a crisis in ties between the former Cold War enemies. He recently joked Russian Federation would send a mission to the Moon to "verify" whether or not NASA lunar landings ever took place.

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