Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Soyuz heads to ISS on first manned mission since failure

Soyuz heads to ISS on first manned mission since failure

The arrival of the three astronauts restores the space station's crew to six as they join Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, who are scheduled to remain aboard until December 20. The hatch to the Russian ship ferrying the crewmembers opened at 2:37 pm.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos docked with the station at 11:33 p.m. (1733 GMT; 12:33 p.m. EST) Monday while flying over 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Ecuador.

Aboard the International Space Station, he will conduct a number of science experiments, with some focusing on the physical effects of the weak gravity astronauts experience in orbit as well as how to provide remote medical care. The launch was successful, and the Soyuz spacecraft docked with the ISS at 17:23 GMT. She offered Saint-Jacques a "Bravo, bravo, bravo" and told the space station crew they were an inspiration for humanity. In June 2013, McClain was selected as a member of the 21 NASA astronaut class, completing her astronaut candidate training in 2015.

Less than two minutes into that flight, one of the rocket's four external boosters failed to separate and accidentally struck the core stage of the rocket, sending it spinning out of control.

The ISS orbits around the Earth at 28,000 kilometers per hour since 1998.

The incident became the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history.

On the other hand, David Saint-Jacques defended that the space rocket is "very safe".

In March 2019, the station will again return to a full complement of six crew members when they are joined for Expedition 59 by NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11, activating an automatic rescue system that sent their capsule into a steep ride back to Earth.

Some of the investigations they will conduct are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth.

Of the trio set to reach the ISS six hours after blast-off, both Saint-Jacques and McClain are flying for the first time.

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