Soyuz heads to ISS on first manned mission since October failure

Three astronauts set to launch to ISS tomorrow

CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), interacts with his children from a bus prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket.

They are set to launch at 1131 GMT Monday aboard a Soyuz from Baikonur in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission.

The International Space Station is about to get three new residents.

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

Monday's launch was needed to guarantee that the ISS was not left unmanned after the station's current crew returns to earth later this month.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos has now successfully launched five Soyuz rockets since the incident, and does not believe there is a chance of the failure repeating.

American astronaut Anne McClain joined Canada's David Saint-Jacques and Russia's Oleg Kononenko aboard the rocket that launched from the Baikonur spaceport in the desert of Kazakhstan on Monday.

A few minutes after their rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russian space agency Roscomos announced that the capsule was "successfully launched into orbit".

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

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Russia's state space corporation, Roscosmos, traced the failure to a damaged sensor and found that two other Soyuz rockets might have the same defect.

Astronauts from Russian Federation, the U.S. and Canada onboard the Soyuz MS-11 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the International Space Station today at 6:31 a.m. EST.

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

If all goes to plan, the spacecraft is due to dock at the ISS at just after 5.30pm tonight - six hours after lift-off.

"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said at a press conference.

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

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board". Its current crew - Sergey Prokopyev, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, and Commander Alexander Gerst - will return to Earth on December 20.

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