Normal flight: Soyuz with a new crew heading to the ISS

New ISS Crew Safely Blast Off From Kazakhstan

NASA TV

A Russian, an American and a Canadian astronaut will take off for the global space station on Monday in the first manned launch of a Soyuz rocket since a crash in October.

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

"We have confirmation of the spacecraft separation; Soyuz capsule and crew safely in orbit", NASA TV said online in its blow-by-blow commentary of the take-off.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, U.S. astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques 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.

On Oct. 11, a rocket failure forced a Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts to abort and make an emergency landing.

The pair escaped unharmed, but the failed launch was the first such incident in Russia's post-Soviet history and a new setback for the country's once proud space industry.

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

"I am completely astounded by everything I have seen", Saint-Jacques said during a brief conversation with family members on the ground at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan.

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Cosmonaut Kononenko said on Sunday, Dec. 2, during a press conference, that he "absolutely" trusts the flight plan.

The Soyuz rocket's journey to the International Space Station took approximately six hours, and it docked at 12:40 p.m. EST.

Saint-Jacques, 48, described the Soyuz spacecraft as "incredibly safe".

Space officials breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.

Astronauts set to board the first manned space mission since an unprecedented accident aboard Russia's Soyuz, yesterday brushed aside safety concerns, saying they were ready to take risks. The planned duration of the flight will be 194 days. NASA's McClain was deployed to Iraq and represented the United States women's national rugby union team in the past.

Welcome to Space! The trio is now safely in orbit and solar arrays have successfully deployed on their Soyuz spacecraft.

Russia-US cooperation in space has remained one of the few areas not affected by a crisis in ties between the former Cold War enemies.

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