3 astronauts blast off to International Space Station

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

Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) from Baikonur in Kazakhstan aboard a Soviet-designed Soyuz on Monday.

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. McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will now complete a six-month mission aboard the ISS, where they will complete experiments and test new technologies.

"We have confirmation of the spacecraft separation; Soyuz capsule and crew safely in orbit", NASA TV said online in its blow-by-blow commentary of the take-off.

If for some reason Russian Federation couldn't have resumed crewed flights on a timely basis, the space station's managers would have faced a hard choice over whether to leave the space station unoccupied for a time.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques blasted off from Kazakhstan this morning aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station.

October's aborted trip saw two astronauts forced to make an emergency landing just minutes after take off. Blastoff kicked off a 6-hour-, four-orbit-long journey to the space station for the trio of astronauts on board.

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

3 astronauts blast off to International Space Station
3 astronauts blast off to International Space Station

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

A criminal investigation into the failure placed the blame on a sensor which had been damaged during assembly.

The accident highlighted the "smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch", he said.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, 48, agreed that the Soyuz spacecraft was "incredibly safe".

On the space station, the crew of NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst were waiting for their arrival.

During their mission, members of the crew are scheduled to embark on a spacewalk to further probe a mysterious hole that caused a loss of air pressure on-board the ISS in August.

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