Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Normal flight: Soyuz with a new crew heading to the ISS

Normal flight: Soyuz with a new crew heading to the ISS

They successfully docked at the ISS on schedule at 1736 GMT to begin an expected six and a half months aboard the ISS, the Russian Roscosmos space agency said via Twitter.

The three new space travellers - Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacquesof the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos - are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft at 5.31 p.m. from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan. Since the October mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday.

The crewmembers of the manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft that docked to the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday evening has entered the station after pressure inside the spaceship and the station was equalized, a spokesman for the mission control center said.

Space station veteran and mission commander Oleg Kononenko, 54, Quebec family doctor David Saint-Jacques, 48, and Anne McClain, 39, a U.S. 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.

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

Payette, who completed missions to the space station in 1999 and 2009, says the most unsafe moments come immediately following the launch as the rocket passes through several "critical zones" on its way into space.

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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. They'll be greeted by current occupants Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev, who are scheduled to then ride the Soyuz back to Earth on December 20. They managed to emerge safely from a harrowing ordeal.

The pair escaped unharmed, but the failed launch was the first such accident in Russia's post-Soviet history and a new setback for the country's once proud space industry.

A Russian investigation attributed the failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's final assembly.

Monday marks two important milestones for the Soyuz rocket.

The astronauts were the first sent to be sent to the space station since a crewed Soyuz launch was aborted in October after a booster rocket failed to separate properly, crippling the rocket.

NASA announced Monday that Hague and Ovchinin will now launch to the space station on February 28, along with NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

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