December: Graduate blasts off to the International Space Station
07 December, 2018, 18:21 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
The arrival of the three astronauts restores the space station's crew to six as they join Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, who are scheduled to remain aboard until December 20. Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques, who arrived on the ISS Dec. 3 shortly before the announcement of the Soyuz MS-12 crew, will have the station to themselves after Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Alexander Gerst and Sergey Prokopyev depart the ISS Dec. 20.
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. In addition, Kononenko and Prokopiev 11 December will be released into outer space to explore the ship "Soyuz MS-09" where you previously found the hole.
A few minutes after their rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russian space agency Roscomos announced that the capsule was "successfully launched into orbit".
Saint-Jacques and the other two astronauts, from Russian Federation and the USA, who blasted off with him yesterday will be manning the International Space Station for the next six months, returning to earth in June 2019.
This was the first manned voyage of the Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and United States astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the two astronauts to make a harrowing emergency landing.
For a while, the arrival of the three new crewmembers returned the ISS crew complement to a total of six.
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"We have confirmation of the spacecraft separation; Soyuz capsule and crew safely in orbit", NASA TV said online in its blow-by-blow commentary of the take-off.
As NPR's Bill Chappell reported in October, "The agency does have contracts with commercial companies like Boeing and SpaceX that are developing new vehicles to take astronauts up, but the first flights of those aren't scheduled until next year".
The accident highlighted the "smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch", he said.
That same month they will be joined by another three spacefarers, a crew which will comprise the two men that aborted the launch in October, Nick Hague (NASA) and Alexey Ovchinin (Roscosmos) and a newcomer, Christina Koch (NASA). Since the October mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted to clear the path for the crew's launch on Monday.
Kononenko, Saint-Jacques and McClane needs to stay on the ISS 194 days. NASA offered its own reassurances about continued cooperation with and confidence in the Russian space program.
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