Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

3-nation crew blasts off to space station

3-nation crew blasts off to space station

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, American astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques successfully launched at 6:31 a.m. ET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and went into orbit a short time later.

Three new Expedition 58 crew members are preparing to blast off to the space station on a Russian Soyuz crew ship early next week.

NASA and Roscosmos said all onboard systems operated normally and the astronauts felt fine during the six-hour trip the space station.

Russian Federation said last month the October launch had failed because of a sensor damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome, but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.

The International Space Station offers an unbelievably cool perspective on rocket launches, as European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst proved with three incredible photographs of a crewed Soyuz rocket that lifted off today (Dec. 3).

The hatch of the capsule carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos was opened while the station was flying over the southern coast of Yemen.

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.

ISS Astronauts
Astronauts Anne McClain Oleg Kononenko and David Saint Jacques

The December 2 liftoff follows after a failed start which forced the Russian-U.S. crew into a hard landing in October.

She offered Saint-Jacques a "Bravo, bravo, bravo" and told the space station crew they were an inspiration for humanity. They managed to emerge safely despite the harrowing ordeal.

Russian investigators blamed the malfunction on a damaged sensor.

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

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.

Russian space officials took measures to prevent the repeat of such a rocket failure.

The crew members will also receive the SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft set to launch on Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and deliver more than 5,800 pounds of critical research and supplies. Since the October mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday. I'm grateful to Director General Dmitry Rogozin and the entire @NASA and @roscosmos teams for their dedication to making this launch a success.

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