NASA, Roscosmos Successfully Launch Soyuz After Aborted Mission

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A Russian-made Soyuz rocket blasted a three-man crew into orbit on Monday, beginning the first manned voyage to the International Space Station since a mission in October was aborted in midair because of a rocket malfunction.

This will be the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle crash on October 11.

The launch was the first for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and United States astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing.

October's accident had 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.

The three new space travellers - Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of 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.

Speaking before the trip on Sunday, crew commander Oleg Kononenko affirmed his crew "absolutely" trusted the flight's preparation. Meanwhile, Kononenko, Saint-Jacques and McClain will spend the next six and a half months in orbit.

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

NASA, Roscosmos Successfully Launch Soyuz After Aborted Mission
NASA, Roscosmos Successfully Launch Soyuz After Aborted Mission

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.

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.

Gerst, who tweeted in anticipation of the new trio's arrival early Monday, could see the launch from the ISS because the space station was in orbit directly over Kazakhstan at the time.

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.

The Russian rocket carries USA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko? and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques.

The crew will join American Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Germany's Alexander Gerst and Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, all of whom are already living on the orbital station.

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