Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Some anxious moments as Canadian David Saint-Jacques successfully blasts into space

Three astronauts set to launch to ISS tomorrow Astronauts to try for space station on Russian rocket after October crash
Elijah Vega | 04 December, 2018, 00:23

It will be the fourth visit to the ISS for Russian cosmonaut Mr Kononenko, while the trip will be the first for both Anne McClain from the U.S. and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.

Stakes were high for Monday's launch, the first to carry a crew since a previous mission to the space station in October was aborted two minutes into the flight after a booster failed to properly separate from the rocket.

They'll spend about six hours in orbit before docking at the ISS around 12:30 p.m, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.

Three astronauts have successfully blasted off to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a ideal launch that follows October's aborted mission.

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.

Anne McClain, the 39-year-old former military pilot and NASA astronaut, said the crew looked forward to going up.

It was the first manned launch for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing.

Pope Francis: I'm anxious about fashion for homosexuality
Pope Francis said it is often better for those who have sexual attraction to leave the priesthood than fight their feelings. The pope has warned Italian bishops in the past to vet seminarians closely and reject those they suspect might be gay.

Now that crewed flights have resumed, Gerst and two other crew members, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, are due to head back to Earth on December 19. They will also conduct a number of scientific experiments in remote sensing of Earth and low-gravity biology.

A Russian investigation attributed the failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's final assembly.

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.

Russian space officials took measures to prevent the repeat of such a rocket failure.

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.

Monday's successful launch appears to show they have solved the issue.

Aboard the space station, German astronaut Alexander Gerst posted photos of the three current crew members tidying up "for the arrival of our friends", according to a post on Twitter.

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