New crew arrives at International Space Station

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Russian Federation has successfully launched a manned Soyuz rocket into space, two months after a previous launch failed, the country's space agency said on Monday.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled at 5:31 p.m. (1131 GMT; 6:31 a.m. EST) Monday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The launch will be a test for Russia's space industry, which has suffered several high-profile crashes in recent years but remains the only reliable way to deliver crew members to the orbiting station.

NASA and Roscosmos said all onboard systems were operating normally and the crew was feeling fine.

The International Space Station is about to receive some company: a Russian Soyuz rocket and new crew successfully traveled to space on Monday.

McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will spend more than six months at the space station doing research and experiments in biology, Earth science, physical sciences and technology.

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Canada's David Saint-Jacques were aboard the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Monday as part of Expedition 58.

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The crew repeatedly denied being nervous about flying and insisted the fact that the two-man crew had safely returned to Earth despite the dramatic mishap had demonstrated the reliability of the rocket's safety mechanisms. 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.

It was the first manned voyage for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make a harrowing emergency landing.

The accident in October was the first aborted crew launch for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch pad explosion.

A criminal investigation into the failure placed the blame on a sensor which had been damaged during assembly.

NASA TV said that astronauts from Russian Federation, the USA and Canada left safely from Kazakhstan earlier today in a mission bound for the International Space Station.

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

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his thanks to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin and to NASA and Roscosmos teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".

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