Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques set to launch into space

Gwen Vasquez
December 4, 2018

Their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes after the launch and is set to dock at the space outpost in about six hours.

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.

On Monday, a Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts from Russia, the US and Canada departed from the Baikonur site in Kazakhstan run by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.

USA astronaut Anne McClain, centre, Russian cosmonaut Оleg Kononenko, bottom, and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.

Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, who is now onboard the space station, are also scheduled for a spacewalk to examine the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft from the outside.

Russian Federation has successfully launched a manned Soyuz rocket into space, two months after a previous launch failed, the country's space agency said on Monday.

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The new arrivals to the ISS will join the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, who have been in orbit since June but are due to fly back to Earth on December 20. The families of the crew, other astronauts and space officials from several nations breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch.

During the last launch on October 11, a rocket carrying Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague malfunctioned about two minutes after the liftoff, sending their escape capsule into a steep fall back to Earth. They managed to emerge safely from a harrowing ordeal.

NASA announced Monday that Hague and Ovchinin will now launch to the space station on February 28, along with NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

Three astronauts who launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have entered the International Space Station after spending almost eight hours in their tiny capsule.

Russian space officials have taken measures to prevent the repeat of such incidents. Since the October mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday.

Canada's governor general and former astronaut Julie Payette is expected to be among the dignitaries to watch Monday's launch.

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