3 astronauts set to launch to space station on Monday

3 astronauts set to launch to space station on Monday

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.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Sergei Prokopyev of Roscosmos were set to greet the trio on arrival at the ISS.

Three astronauts who launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have entered the International Space Station after spending almost eight hours in their tiny capsule.

"I think I was more anxious today than on a typical Soyuz launch because of the launch abort in October", Thirsk, the first Canadian to fly aboard a Soyuz capsule, said in an interview.

Canadian Space Agency president Sylvain Laporte told the crew members there was "a lot of relief" when the astronauts entered the space station about two hours after docking.

Three spaceflyers launched on Monday to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. He embarked on his own six-month trip to the space station in 2009, just a few weeks after Saint-Jacques joined the astronaut corps, and he has spent more time in space than any other Canadian, with 206 days under his belt.

Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques showed no signs of worry as they boarded a bus yesterday to take them to the launch.

Monday's launch was in the spotlight after last month's botched launch to the ISS from Baikonur.

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The evening before the launch, crew commander Oleg Kononenko said the astronauts "absolutely" had trust in the flight preparations.

Last month, Roscosmos tweeted a video of the October 11 failed Soyuz rocket launch that forced NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin into making a harrowing emergency landing.

Kononenko added that the crew would conduct a spacewalk on December 11 as part of the investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS.

But the space agency's chief executive, former deputy prime minister Dimitry Rogozin, has been bullish about the project, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

"Although we knew that you were safe and sound, there was nothing like seeing you come through the hatch", Laporte said.

NASA's McClain was deployed to Iraq and has represented the United States women's national rugby union team.

In recent years Russia's debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites.

The ship successfully launched into orbit.

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