Soyuz Rocket Launches, Docks Successfully To Relief Of NASA, Russia Space Agency

Three astronauts set to launch to ISS tomorrow

Russia successfully launches first manned voyage to International Space Station since October rocket accident

The International Space Station (ISS) crew member David Saint-Jacques of Canada gestures shortly before their launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan December 3, 2018.

Three astronauts have successfully blasted off to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a flawless launch that follows October's aborted mission. "They will now embark on six-hour chasedown of the space station and are expected to arrive later today", NASA tweeted.

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

MOSCOW: The first manned Soyuz flight since a failed launch in October successfully docked at the International Space Station on Monday, Russia's space agency Roscosmos said.

A few minutes after the rocket lifted off the Russian space agency Roscomos announced that the capsule was "successfully launched into orbit".

It was the first manned Russian launch since a Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11.

The astronauts were the first sent to be sent to the space station since a crewed Soyuz launch was aborted in October after a booster rocket failed to separate properly, crippling the rocket.

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

At 6:31 a.m. EST, the Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The three-man crew appeared briefly before relatives and reporters on Monday morning, waving and blowing kisses as they left a hotel to board a bus on their way to prepare for the flight.

If all goes to plan, the spacecraft is due to dock at the ISS at just after 5.30pm tonight - six hours after lift-off.

Ahead of Monday's launch a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the spaceship on its launchpad, in accordance with tradition, while the crew spoke calmly of the dangers involved.

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board". The crew will join American Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Germany's Alexander Gerst and Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, all of whom are already living on the orbital station.

The last Canadian astronaut to visit the space station was Chris Hadfield, who was on a five-month mission that ended in May 2013.

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