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Soyuz spacecraft successfully docks with ISS

05 December 2018

This is the first time a crew has launched to the space station since a failed Soyuz launch in October led to an abort that brought both crewmembers (safely) back to Earth not long after launch.

Lt. Col. Ann McClain and her team will spend six months at the ISS as part of a crew with a slate of 250 research projects, the release said.

As part of the main crew of ISS-58/59 Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, for whom this flight was the fourth astronaut of the Canadian space Agency, David Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, who went into space for the first time. 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.

NASA and Roscosmos said all onboard systems operated normally and the astronauts felt fine during the six-hour trip the space station. 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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This is the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the abortive blastoff of the Soyuz carrier rocket on October 11.

Russian Federation suspended all manned space launches pending an investigation before giving the green light November 1.

Taking to micro-blogging website Twitter, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed that the crew were "safely in orbit" and thanked the U.S. and Russian teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".

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

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Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques showed no signs of worry as they boarded a bus to take them to the launch.

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board", the 54-year-old said.

The trio will stay at the orbital laboratory for the next six-and-a-half months, briefly joining the current crew of Expedition 57, Nasa's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Commander Alexander Gerst and Roscosmos's Sergey Prokopyev.

In recent years Russia's debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites.

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Hague will now head to the ISS in February 2019.

Soyuz spacecraft successfully docks with ISS