Astronauts say look forward to space launch after Soyuz accident

03 December, 2018, 19:11 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques lifts off on Russian rocket to International Space Station

A Russian, an American and a Canadian astronaut will take off for the global space station on Monday in the first manned launch of a Soyuz rocket since a crash in October.

Canada's Saint-Jacques added that the Soyuz spacecraft was "incredibly safe", noting it was "actually reassuring" to witness the October aborted launch from Baikonur.

During the last launch on October 11, a rocket carrying Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague malfunctioned about two minutes after the liftoff, sending their escape capsule into a steep fall back to Earth.

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

NASA's Anne McClain, the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko reached orbit minutes after the smooth launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:31 a.m. PT.

"Looking forward to having a full crew of 6 up here again, at least for a few weeks", German astronaut Alexander Gerst, the station's current commander, said in a tweet.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.

"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said.

Astronauts say look forward to space launch after Soyuz accident

They're due to arrive at the ISS six hours after launch, and they'll board the station less than two hours after that.

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

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this incredible image during a crewed Soyuz launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 3, 2018.

Afterward, investigators said they believed other Soyuz models may have been defective, but said additional checks had been introduced.

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

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.

NASA's McClain was deployed to Iraq and has represented the United States women's national rugby union team.

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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