Manned Soyuz rocket successfully launched into space

Olive Hawkins
December 5, 2018

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is set to blast off in a Russian Soyuz rocket launched from Kazakhstan en route to the International Space Station (ISS).

The launch, which took place from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as the sun was setting, was the first crewed launch since an anomaly during booster separation sent two astronauts falling back to Earth in an emergency landing on October 11.

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

The trio aboard the rocket will be on the International Space Station for six and a half months before heading back to Earth. That's when a rocket failure forced the Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts to make an emergency landing.

NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.

This will be the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle crash on October 11.

Three astronauts have successfully blasted off to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a ideal launch that follows October's aborted mission.

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

It was particularly troubling considering the fact that the Soyuz is now the only spacecraft and rocket that can take humans to space these days, since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. They smiled and waved, with Saint-Jacques blowing kisses and giving the thumbs-up to a crowd of well-wishers.

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

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

Anne McClain, the 39-year-old former military pilot and NASA astronaut, said the crew looked forward to going up.

Since the October mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday. The most experienced of the main crew is Kononenko, who went to the ISS for the fourth time, McClane and Saint-Jacques still have no experience of space flights. CBC News Network will also broadcast the interactive special featuring Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Russian Federation suspended all manned space launches pending an investigation before giving the green light November 1.

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