Soyuz rocket: First astronauts to launch since October failure

Cristina Cross
December 4, 2018

A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts took off from Kazakhstan and reached orbit on Monday, in the first manned mission since a failed launch in October.

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 Soyuz 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.

Click on the video above at 6 a.m. ET to watch live coverage of Saint-Jacques's launch. The spacecraft made four orbits over six hours as it chased down the space station for the docking.

Aboard the space station, German astronaut Alexander Gerst posted photos of the three current crew members tidying up "for the arrival of our friends", according to a post on Twitter.

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

The launch, which took place from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as the sun was setting, was the first crewed launch since an anomaly during booster separation sent two astronauts falling back to Earth in an emergency landing on October 11.

A new ‘Captain Marvel’ trailer will air during Monday Night Football
The second trailer for Captain Marvel , one of 2019's biggest blockbuster films , is set to drop on Monday, December 3. We've also heard from our own sources that the Wednesday morning Avengers 4 trailer drop may be the real deal.

There, they'll meet the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev, the current crew of the ISS who'll use the Soyuz to return to Earth on December 20.

Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who recorded a version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on board in 2013.

"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.

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.

Payette, who completed missions to the space station in 1999 and 2009, says the most risky moments come immediately following the launch as the rocket passes through several "critical zones" on its way into space.

Nasa administrator, Jim Bridenstine confirmed on Twitter that the crew were "safely in orbit" and thanked the U.S. and Russian teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER