Bristol alumnus and NASA astronaut Anne McClain has donned astronaut boots and launched in the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft yesterday [3 December], on her first mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Until December 20, the new ISS crew will perform a large number of experiments that will return to Earth the crew of Sergey Prokopyeva.
"Soyuz MS-11" docked with the ISS in automatic mode after a six-hour orbital flight.
The latest batch of astronauts to take up residence on board the International Space Station (ISS) have arrived safely following a six-hour flight.
The new crew is scheduled to be onboard during the first test flights of NASA's Commercial Crew Programme, which will return human spaceflight launches to United States soil. In the October malfunction on the Soyuz, the first ever in Russia's post-Soviet history, it was found that a sensor had failed. It will reunite Hague and Ovchinin for a second shot at their Soyuz MS-10 mission, which was foiled when one of the four Soyuz strap-on rockets did not detach properly and impacted the core stage about two minutes after launch.
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The Soviet-designed Soyuz rocket is now the world's only lifeline to the ISS.
The three newest members will then officially begin Expedition 58, which will see them stay on the ISS conducting hundreds of science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
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).
The launch was closely scrutinised because of the abortive mission to the ISS on October 11, which ended two minutes after take-off when a rocket failure forced its two-man crew to perform an emergency landing. After Monday's successful launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his thanks to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin and to NASA and Roscosmos space teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success". That triggered the Soyuz spacecraft's launch abort system, sending the spacecraft away from the damaged rocket.