3 astronauts safely aboard International Space Station

05 December, 2018, 18:32 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Russia launches first manned voyage to ISS since rocket accident

Flight commander Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to the space station, adding to an impressive 533 days in space, Both Saint-Jacques and McClain are making their maiden trip.

The program of ISS Expedition 58 includes applied scientific research and experiments, implementation of scheduled tasks associated with the station's maintenance and outfitting the station with equipment delivered by the cargo transports, as well as the EVA performance.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts successfully docked with the International Space Station on Monday following a clean launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan six hours earlier. The spacecraft made four orbits over six hours as it chased down the space station for the docking.

The agency said that NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin have been assigned to the crew of Soyuz MS-12, the next crewed mission to the ISS, joining NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

The Soyuz carrying Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Konenenko of Roscosmos launched at 6.31 a.m. on Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

They escaped unharmed but the failed launch - the first such incident in Russia's post-Soviet history - raised concerns about the state of the Soyuz programme. They were welcomed by Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and astronaut of the European Space Agency Alexander Gerst.

Russia launches first manned voyage to ISS since rocket accident

These crewmembers will be aboard the ISS during the first test flights of the NASA Commercial Crew Program that will see astronauts being able to get into space from the United States for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, assuming test flights go well.

The six will be in space together until December 20, when Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and Prokopyev return to Earth.

The rocket launch earlier from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was closely scrutinized because of the abortive mission to the ISS on October 11, which ended two minutes after take-off when a rocket failure forced its two-man crew to perform an emergency landing.

The Soyuz spacecraft is now the only vehicle that can ferry crews to the space station, but Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

Saint-Jacques has spent years training for the six-month mission, which was originally scheduled for December 20 but was moved up after the aborted Soyuz launch.

According to Russian chief investigator Igor Skorobogatov, the cause of the failed launch in October was a "deformation of the stem of the contact separation sensor", which in turn led to the first stage of the rocket hitting the second one.

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