3 astronauts enter International Space Station

Mindy Sparks
December 5, 2018

The International Space Station offers an unbelievably cool perspective on rocket launches, as European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst proved with three incredible photographs of a crewed Soyuz rocket that lifted off today (Dec. 3).

Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency brushed aside any possible safety concerns, saying risk was just part of the job. They will head to the ISS after a Soyuz rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and United States astronaut Nick Hague failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off.

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.

The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the USA retired the space shuttle in 2011.

McClain, Saint-Jacques, and Kononenkoof before launch.

It was expected the crowd on the ground watching the liftoff in Kazakhstan would include members of Saint-Jacques' family as well as Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, herself a former astronaut.

McClain Saint-Jacques and Kononenkoof before launch
McClain Saint-Jacques and Kononenkoof before

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, U.S. astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques appeared briefly before relatives and reporters on Monday morning, waving and blowing kisses as they left a hotel to board a bus on their way to prepare for the flight. NASA and Roscosmos said that all onboard systems were operating normally and the crew was feeling fine. "We feel very ready for it", she said.

NASA confirmed that "the spacecraft separation; Soyuz capsule and crew are safely in orbit".

The Soyuz was "successfully launched into orbit", Roscosmos wrote on Twitter.

Last month Russian Federation said the October launch had failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable. The planned duration of the flight will be 194 days.

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. CBC News Network will also broadcast the interactive special featuring Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. In recent years Russia's debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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