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3 astronauts dock safely at International Space Station

07 December 2018

Russia's space agency Roscosmos has now successfully launched five Soyuz rockets since the incident, and does not believe there is a chance of the failure repeating. Blastoff kicked off a 6-hour-, four-orbit-long journey to the space station for the trio of astronauts on board.

Veteran Kononenko said the crew would conduct a spacewalk on 11 December as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS.

Three astronauts who launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have entered the International Space Station after spending almost eight hours in their tiny capsule.

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", the 48-year-old said.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos docked with the station at 11:33 p.m. Monday while flying over 250 miles above Ecuador.

Their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes after the launch and is set to dock at the space outpost in about six hours.

It's the first time a crewed Soyuz rocket successfully made it to space following an aborted mission on October 11, where two space travelers were forced to perform an emergency landing after a deformed sensor caused issues.

The ship successfully launched into orbit.

The past few months had been tense at Roscosmos, Russia's space agency.

Thirsk is no stranger to long-duration space flight.

"Risk is part of our profession", he stated.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, the astronauts addressed concerns about the safety of the Russian-made rocket en route to the ISS, so closely on the heels of the previous rocket's emergency landing.

Next year, however, Russian Federation will see intense global competition.

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 three-person crew's mission was originally scheduled for later this month, but officials brought it forward to avoid the ISS being left unmanned when its current crew return to earth.

Three astronauts have successfully blasted off to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a flawless launch that follows October's aborted mission.

3 astronauts dock safely at International Space Station