Canadian David Saint-Jacques reaches the International Space Station

Gwen Vasquez
December 7, 2018

The two crewmembers on a Soyuz mission to the International Space Station that was aborted two minutes after liftoff in October will get a second chance to go to the ISS next year, NASA announced December 3.

In the Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 58 crew members Anne McClain of NASA (left), Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos (center) and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency (right) pose for pictures November 29 in front of the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft during a final vehicle fit check. That triggered the Soyuz spacecraft's launch abort system, sending the spacecraft away from the damaged rocket.

Following a four-orbit, six-hour journey, the three arrived at the station to finally replace the crew that was left stranded there since October.

The first failed mission raised concerns about Moscow's Soviet-designed spacecraft, however, Russia's Rocosmos space agency has confirmed that the previous aborted mission was caused by a faulty sensor.

As Soyuz rockets are now the only means for astronauts to reach the International Space Station, Monday's launch was closely watched. Crew commander Kononenko said his crew recognized the risks of spaceflight as part of their profession and expressed confidence in the flight preparation. Eastern, Saint-Jacques and his two crewmates floated in from the docked Soyuz capsule, embracing the astronauts who have been at the space station since June.

Initially scheduled for December 20th, the space launch was advanced to Monday to ensure a permanent presence of astronauts in the ISS, given that the current team must return to Earth on December 20th.

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In a successful rehearsal for Monday's flight, a Soyuz cargo vessel took off on November 16 from Baikonur and delivered several tonnes of food, fuel and supplies to the ISS.

"The hatch has been opened, the crew entered the ISS".

Kononenko, Saint-Jacques and McClane needs to stay on the ISS 194 days.

The Soyuz carrying Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Konenenko of Roscosmos launched at 6:31 a.m. EST (5:31 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russia-US cooperation in space has so far remained one of the few areas not affected by a crisis in ties between the former Cold War enemies. The experiment is using worms to understand muscle loss in space.

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