Russian Federation launches Soyuz, the first manned mission, to International Space Station

Russian Federation launches Soyuz, the first manned mission, to International Space Station

Roscosmos "Concerned" Over NASA Commercial Crew Program The Russian space agency dispelled doubts about its space program after it had successfully launched astronauts from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to the orbiting outpost on Monday, Dec. 3.

Astronauts Anne McClain from American space agency Nasa, David Saint-Jacques from the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos left aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just after 11.31am GMT.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques boarded the International Space Station Monday afternoon, declaring himself "astounded" by the journey and excited for the discoveries ahead of him. The failure was later attributed to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's final assembly. The crew planned to dock with the International Space Station about six hours after the launch and will live in orbit for six months.

This is the first manned Soyuz launch since the October 11 failure that caused Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague to make an emergency landing minutes after liftoff.

The three current inhabitants - Alexander Gerst of Germany, Serena Auñón-Chancellor of the United States and Sergey Prokopyev of Russian Federation - plan to return December 20 aboard a Soyuz module that has been docked to the station since June.

On Monday, NASA announced Hague and Ovchinin will now launch to the space station on February 28, along with NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

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NASA had already assigned Koch to the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft in May, a mission at the time scheduled for launch in April 2019. NASA announced the flight crew for that mission today. The shield will be brought into the station and later returned to earth, Russian space officials said.

Since the mishap, four successful Soyuz launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch.

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.

In fact, NASA said in its announcement that Soyuz MS-10 got high enough that it is counting the mission as a spaceflight, even though the crew did not reach orbit.

The examination has to be conducted in space, as the portion of the Soyuz ship with the hole is created to separate and burn during re-entry, meaning it can not be examined on the ground.

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