Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Science | By

3 astronauts dock safely at International Space Station

3 astronauts dock safely at International Space Station

The incident became the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos has successfully launched a manned Soyuz rocket carrying astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time since October's aborted mission.

The launch will be a test for Russia's space industry, which has suffered several high-profile crashes in recent years but remains the only reliable way to deliver crew members to the orbiting station.

And while he's likely to keep in touch, he says Canadians shouldn't expect a repeat of the out-of-this-world guitar performances that brought his predecessor Chris Hadfield worldwide fame during his own stint on the space station in 2013.

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

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).

The two astronauts wound up floating back to the ground in the Soyuz instead of making it to space.

Space officials breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.


It was the first manned voyage for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make a harrowing emergency landing.

But while the list of astronauts may be small, both Payette and Saint-Jacques emphasize the strength and importance of Canada's space contributions.

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. They managed to emerge safely from a harrowing ordeal.

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

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.

Russian investigators blamed the malfunction on a damaged sensor.

He said Ovchinin and Hague would be on board, along with NASA's Christina Koch.

Reports say a Russian Orthodox priest blessed their rocket before its flight on Monday, as per tradition.

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