Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques set to launch into space

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques set to launch into space

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

On Oct. 11, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin made a dramatic escape after their Soyuz booster rocket failed two minutes after launch.

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

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

The evening before the launch, crew commander Oleg Kononenko said the astronauts "absolutely" had trust in the flight preparations.

"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said at a press conference.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos has now successfully launched five Soyuz rockets since the incident, and does not believe there is a chance of the failure repeating.

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

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques set to launch into space

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board".

After NASA retired the Space Shuttle in 2011, Russian Soyuz rockets have been the only way to get people to the International Space Station.

RFE also quoted McClain, 39, saying: "We feel very ready for it".

Russian Federation said last month, the October launch had failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Sergei Prokopyev of Roscosmos will greet the trio when they arrive at the ISS.

The veteran said the crew would conduct a spacewalk on December 11 as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS.

But the space agency's chief executive, former deputy prime minister Dimitry Rogozin, has been bullish about the project, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

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