Russian Federation launches first manned voyage to space station since rocket accident

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques lifts off on Russian rocket to International Space Station

Russian Federation launches first manned voyage to space station since rocket accident

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, 48, agreed that the Soyuz spacecraft was "incredibly safe". They should reach the International Space Station by noon.

Cosmonaut of Roscosmos Oleg Kononenko, astronauts of NASA and the Canadian space agency Ann McClain and David Saint-Jacques will head to the ISS.

Aboard the International Space 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.

After the Soyuz docks with the space station, the mission is expected to last 194 days, according to TASS, which means the trio will remain on board through July 2019. Meanwhile, Kononenko, Saint-Jacques and McClain will spend the next six and a half months in orbit.

Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques will officially become the Expedition 58 crew when Gerst, Aunon-Chancellor and Prokopyev depart the station for home on December 20.

The astronauts are slated to stay on the ISS until July 2019.

Russian Federation launches first manned voyage to space station since rocket accident

The evening before the launch, crew commander Oleg Kononenko said the astronauts "absolutely" had trust in the flight preparations. "We feel very ready for it", she said.

Two different spacefliers - NASA's Nick Hague and Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin - were supposed to have joined the crew on October 11, but their flight was aborted during the rocket's ascent, forcing them to return to Earth.

Less than two minutes into that flight, one of the rocket's four external boosters failed to separate and accidentally struck the core stage of the rocket, sending it spinning out of control.

It is the first manned space mission since the October drama, which ended in an emergency landing after a failure mid-flight.

The astronauts on board, NASA's Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexey Ovchinin, had to make a dramatic escape 31 miles above the Earth in a capsule that was ejected from the rocket. The pair landed safely just outside the town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Roscomos later said the cause of the accident was a defective sensor.

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