Soyuz rocket lifts off with new crew for ISS

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

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Canada's David Saint-Jacques were aboard the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Monday as part of Expedition 58.

The families of the crew, other astronauts and space officials from several nations breathed a sigh of relief Monday after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.

The October 11 launch saw two crew members, Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague, escape certain death in a massive high-altitude blast, as their capsule was pulled away from the Soyuz-FG rocket by the time-proven Russian emergency rescue system SAS, before it landed back in Kazakhstan.

After the Soyuz docks with the space station, the mission is expected to last 194 days, according to TASS, which means the trio will remain on board through July 2019.

"Risk is part of our profession", crew commander Oleg Kononenko told a news conference at Baikonur on Sunday, adding they "absolutely" trusted teams preparing them for the flight.

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

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

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Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.

Reports say a Russian Orthodox priest blessed their rocket before its flight on Monday, as per tradition.

RFE also quoted McClain, 39, saying: "We feel very ready for it".

It will be the first flight for both McClain and Saint-Jacques and the fourth for Kononenko.

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.

Roscomos later said the cause of the accident was a defective sensor.

Russian Federation said last month the launch failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain (from left), Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency successfully blasted into space on Monday morning.

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