Science

NASA, Russia launch Soyuz rocket to ISS just weeks after failure

NASA, Russia launch Soyuz rocket to ISS just weeks after failure”

David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency gestures as he boards the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft shortly before the launch at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 3, 2018.

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.

The accident highlighted the "smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch", the 48-year-old said. A Russian investigation attributed the failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's final assembly.

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques - reached orbit about 10 minutes after taking off from Kazakhstan on the Soyuz MS-11 rocket.

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

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board", the 54-year-old said.

Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques smiled and gave thumbs up to the cheering crowd including relatives as they ascended into the Soyuz capsule.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques blasted off from Kazakhstan this morning aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station.

NASA, Russia launch Soyuz rocket to ISS just weeks after failure

The Soyuz was "successfully launched into orbit", Roscosmos wrote on Twitter.

Ahead of Monday's launch a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the spaceship on its launchpad, in accordance with tradition.

Saint-Jacques will be his own main subject, using his medical training to try and develop new programs to keep astronauts healthy in space.

During their mission, members of the crew are scheduled to embark on a spacewalk to further probe a mysterious hole that caused a loss of air pressure on-board the ISS in August.

Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space.

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

The incident on 11 October cast a spotlight on the safety of Russia's space programme, whose fleet have suffered a number of technical failures in recent years.



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