Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launches three astronauts to ISS

James Marshall
December 5, 2018

After the hatch opened at 2:37 p.m.

The ISS space laboratory has been orbiting the Earth at roughly 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998.

The launch appeared to go smoothly from Kazakhstan at the precise liftoff time of 6:31 a.m. eastern time.

Speaking in French, he described his first sunrise seen from space as "breathtaking".

"I know that it's something that means a lot to him and his family and the team that got him there", she said.

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.

This flight to space is actually a bit earlier than Saint-Jacques, McClain and Kononenko were expecting!

RFE also quoted McClain, 39, saying: "We feel very ready for it".

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

He said Ovchinin and Hague would be on board, along with NASA's Christina Koch. "Everything looking good, vehicle is stable - good first stage performance".

As Saint-Jacques became just the ninth Canadian to head into space, people across the country connected with the Canadian Space Agency to watch Saint-Jacques' historic flight.

"Space represents a lot of opportunities for a lot of Canadians", he said at the agency office.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.

One of Canada's newest astronauts, Jenni Sidey-Gibbons, grinned broadly as the rocket carrying Saint-Jacques launched.

The trio blasted off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket two months after a similar rocket launched from the same site malfunctioned, forcing astronauts Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague to make an emergency re-entry. They managed to emerge safely despite a harrowing descent back to Earth.

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

Aboard the station, he will conduct a number of science experiments, with some focusing on the physical effects of the weak gravity astronauts experience in orbit as well as how to provide remote medical care.

There, they'll meet the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev, the current crew of the ISS who'll use the Soyuz to return to Earth on December 20.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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