New crew launching to space station on Thursday

James Marshall
March 14, 2019

A Soyuz MS-12 rocket has taken off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying a Russian cosmonaut, Alexey Ovchinin, and two United States astronauts, Christina Hammock Koch and Nick Hague to the International Space Station (ISS).

Expedition 59 has NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin joining NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Roscosmos station commander Oleg Kononenko and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.

A Russian-American crew of three has blasted off to the International Space Station, making a second attempt to reach the outpost after October's aborted launch.

The Soyuz MS-12 took off at 1914 GMT, as planned, and is due to bring Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and US astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch to the International Space Station around eight hours later.

There they will be met by Canadian David Saint-Jacques, who arrived on December 3, as well as American Anne McClain and station commander Oleg Kononenko. The trio welcomed the first commercially built capsule - the SpaceX Crew Dragon - to dock with the station in the early hours of March 2.

McClain, Saint-Jacques, Hague and Koch also are all scheduled for the first spacewalks of their careers to continue upgrades to the orbital laboratory. McClain and Hague are scheduled to begin work to upgrade the power system March 22, and McClain and Koch will complete the upgrades to two station power channels during a March 29 spacewalk.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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