Russia Successfully Launches First Manned Rocket Into Space Since October Failure

Gwen Vasquez
December 7, 2018

Cosmonauts will head to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a spacecraft Soyuz MS-11.

If all goes as planned, six hours later they will dock with the space station.

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.

Astronauts of the first manned space mission since an unprecedented accident in October on Sunday brushed aside concerns about Russia's Soyuz rocket, saying risks were part of the job.

Canadian Space Agency president Sylvain Laporte told the crew members there was "a lot of relief" when the astronauts entered the space station about two hours after docking.

Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques smiled and gave thumbs up to the cheering crowd including relatives as they ascended into the Soyuz capsule on Monday morning.

Afterward, investigators said they believed other Soyuz models may have been defective, but said additional checks had been introduced.

After Monday's successful launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his thanks to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin and to NASA and Roscosmos space teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".

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Monday's launch was in the spotlight after last month's botched launch to the ISS from Baikonur.

While flight commander Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space, both Saint-Jacques and McClain are flying for the first time.

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 three new crew of the orbiting outpost lifted off without a hitch on Monday, Dec. 3, from Kazakhstan.

Among the dozens of experiments the new crew members will be involved in is one led by British scientists that will use worms to examine muscle loss in space.

The past few months had been tense at Roscosmos, Russia's space agency. She later said she was caught off guard by her own reaction watching her colleague fulfil a lifelong dream.

In recent years Russia's debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites.

NASA spokesperson Gary Johnson described the mission as "textbook launch and insertion into orbit" during the liftoff commentary.

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