NASA, Russia launch Soyuz rocket to ISS just weeks after failure

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques lifts off on Russian rocket to International Space Station

NASA, Russia launch Soyuz rocket to ISS just weeks after failure

Russian Federation successfully launched a crew of astronauts toward the International Space Station on Monday - nearly two months after their rocket dramatically broke apart mid-flight.

Canada's Saint-Jacques added that the Soyuz spacecraft was "incredibly safe", noting it was "actually reassuring" to witness the October aborted launch from Baikonur.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11, activating an automatic rescue system that sent their capsule into a steep ride back to Earth.

October's aborted trip saw two astronauts forced to make an emergency landing just minutes after take off. A Russian investigation attributed the failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's final assembly.

Space station veteran and mission commander Oleg Kononenko, 54, Quebec family doctor David Saint-Jacques, 48, and Anne McClain, 39, a USA army helicopter pilot who earned masters degrees from the University of Bath and Bristol in the United Kingdom, are scheduled to blast off at 2:30pm Moscow time from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board", the 54-year-old said.

NASA, Russia launch Soyuz rocket to ISS just weeks after failure

McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will live on the ISS for six-and-a-half months. Gary Jordan, a launch commentator for NASA, hailed a "textbook launch and insertion into orbit".

A rehearsal unmanned flight, which delivered cargo including food and fuel supplies, was successfully carried out in mid-November.

Gerst, who tweeted in anticipation of the new trio's arrival early Monday, could see the launch from the ISS because the space station was in orbit directly over Kazakhstan at the time.

The Russian rocket carries US astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko? and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques.

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.

The experiment could pave the way to new treatments for muscular conditions for people on Earth, according to the UK Space Agency.

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