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article imageSoyuz crew successfully docks at ISS — Met by jubilant astronauts

By Karen Graham     Dec 4, 2018 in Science
An international crew aboard a Russian-made Soyuz rocket docked safely at the International Space Station on Monday, the first manned voyage to the ISS since a mission in October was aborted mid-air because of a rocket malfunction.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome earlier in the day for the six-hour trip to the orbital space lab, arriving at 5.36pm GMT Monday afternoon.
The three astronauts will begin an expected six and a half month stay aboard the ISS, the Russian Roscosmos space agency said. This was the first manned voyage of the Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia’s Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the two astronauts to make a harrowing emergency landing.
In the October malfunction on the Soyuz, the first ever in Russia’s post-Soviet history, it was found that a sensor had failed. The Soviet-era Soyuz rocket is the only means of transporting astronauts to the ISS since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011.
Flight commander Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to the space station, adding to an impressive 533 days in space, Both Saint-Jacques and McClain are making their maiden trip. Kononenko, 54, said during a press conference on the eve of the launch that “risk is part of our profession."
The new arrivals to the ISS join the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, who have been in orbit since June but are due to fly back to Earth on Dec. 20, according to the Moscow Times.
More about Soyuz, successful docking, Iss, Soyuz program, Baikonur Cosmodrome
 
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