Soyuz heads to ISS on first manned mission since October failure

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

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

The Soyuz MS-11 carried Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and NASA's Anne McClain from Earth to dock with the ISS later on Monday.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11, activating an automatic rescue system that sent their capsule into a steep ride back to Earth.

Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques smiled and gave thumbs up to the cheering crowd including relatives as they ascended into the Soyuz capsule.

The trio aboard the rocket will be on the International Space Station for six and a half months before heading back to Earth.

October's accident had 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", he said.

Speaking before the trip on Sunday, crew commander Oleg Kononenko affirmed his crew "absolutely" trusted the flight's preparation.

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.

The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the United States retired the space shuttle in 2011.

Soyuz heads to ISS on first manned mission since October failure

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board".

"We feel very ready for it", she said.

Russian Federation said last month the launch of the Soyuz rocket failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome, but officials insisted the spacecraft remains reliable.

Afterward, investigators said they believed other Soyuz models may have been defective, but said additional checks had been introduced.

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

The Expedition 58 astronauts will briefly join NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, who are scheduled to leave the space station on December 20.

But the space agency's chief executive, former deputy prime minister Dimitry Rogozin, has been bullish about the project, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

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