Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
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Russia's Soyuz blasts off on first manned mission since October failure

Russia's Soyuz blasts off on first manned mission since October failure

Three astronauts who were launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Monday entered the International Space Station almost eight hours later, a relief to relatives and scientists months after a rocket failure aborted another mission.

A Soyuz MS-11, carrying one astronaut each from the U.S. and Canada and a cosmonaut from Russian Federation, has been successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday and has safely reached orbit, the USA space agency NASA said in a statement.

The event was the first failed manned launch for the Russian space program since 1983 when a Soyuz rocket exploded on the launch pad.

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

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is set to blast off in a Russian Soyuz rocket launched from Kazakhstan en route to the International Space Station (ISS).

Anne McClain, the 39-year-old former military pilot and NASA astronaut, said the crew looked forward to going up.

This was the first time people rode on one of the Russian rockets since October 11, when two and a half minutes after takeoff, one of the Soyuz MS-10's four boosters broke off, sending the aircraft spinning out of control.


The ship successfully launched into orbit.

A rehearsal unmanned flight, which delivered cargo including food and fuel supplies, was successfully carried out in mid-November.

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.

While flight commander Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space, both Saint-Jacques and McClain are making their maiden trip. Blastoff kicked off a 6-hour-, four-orbit-long journey to the space station for the trio of astronauts on board.

Veteran Kononenko said the crew would conduct a spacewalk on 11 December as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS. 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. NASA's McClain was deployed to Iraq and represented the United States women's national rugby union team in the past. He recently joked Russian Federation would send a mission to the Moon to "verify" whether or not NASA lunar landings ever took place.

Next year, however, Russian Federation will see intense worldwide competition.

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