The first manned space mission to the since an unprecedented accident in October, which raised concerns about Moscow's Soviet-designed spacecraft, will launch on Monday. The three were greeted upon arrival Monday by the station's current crew members, who had waited outside the hatch after the astronauts' capsule docked and underwent safety checks. The new expedition comprises Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency David Saint-Jacques.
The incident became the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history.
Barley two months after a Soyuz made an emergency landing, the Russian spacecraft has safely brought one astronaut each from the USA and Canada and a cosmonaut from Russia, to the International Space Station (ISS).
Roscosmos also argued that sanctions and weak currency have caused the space agency's financial decline.
This is the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the abortive blastoff of the Soyuz carrier rocket on October 11. It will reunite Hague and Ovchinin for a second shot at their Soyuz MS-10 mission, which was foiled when one of the four Soyuz strap-on rockets did not detach properly and impacted the core stage about two minutes after launch.
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"We have confirmation of the spacecraft separation; Soyuz capsule and crew safely in orbit", NASA TV said online in its blow-by-blow commentary of the take-off. Cosmonaut Kononenko said on Sunday, Dec. 2, during a press conference, that he "absolutely" trusts the flight plan.
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.
Anne McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, said the crew looked forward to going up. That triggered the Soyuz spacecraft's launch abort system, sending the spacecraft away from the damaged rocket.
The three have joined Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos. Of the trio set to reach the ISS six hours after blast-off, both Saint-Jacques and McClain are flying for the first time.
Their replacements will launch on February 28, 2019 on Soyuz MS-12.
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