Science

3 astronauts dock safely at International Space Station

3 astronauts dock safely at International Space Station”

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

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, 48, agreed that the Soyuz spacecraft was "incredibly safe".

Their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes after the launch and is set to dock at the space outpost in about six hours.

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.

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.

Russia's state space corporation, Roscosmos, traced the failure to a damaged sensor and found that two other Soyuz rockets might have the same defect.

US astronaut Anne McClain, centre, Russian cosmonaut Оleg Kononenko, bottom, and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.

"Looking forward to having a full crew of six up here again, at least for a few weeks".

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board". It is the first mission since an aborted launch in October.

In a successful rehearsal for today's flight, a Soyuz cargo vessel took off on 16 November from Baikonur and delivered several tonnes of food, fuel and supplies to the ISS.

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", he said.

If for some reason Russian Federation couldn't have resumed crewed flights on a timely basis, the space station's managers would have faced a hard choice over whether to leave the space station unoccupied for a time.

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.



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