For a while, the arrival of the three new crewmembers returned the ISS crew complement to a total of six. The new crew includes Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadia Space Agency, and Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos.
Following a four-orbit, six-hour journey, the three arrived at the station to finally replace the crew that was left stranded there since October.
Russian Federation suspended all manned space launches pending an investigation before giving the green light November 1. After Monday's successful launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his thanks to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin and to NASA and Roscosmos space teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success". This caused the mission to be aborted and all Soyuz missions grounded until this week.
The crew is scheduled to be onboard during the first test flights of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which will return human spaceflight launches to US soil. Cosmonaut Kononenko said on Sunday, Dec. 2, during a press conference, that he "absolutely" trusts the flight plan.
"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board", the 54-year-old said.
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"Risk is part of our profession", he stated.
Saint-Jacques and McClain will fly for the first time, while Kononenko has already logged 533 days in space and this trip will be his fourth mission.
The families of the crew, other astronauts and space officials from several nations breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch, with October's Soyuz rocket failure still on the minds of many.
The three current inhabitants - Alexander Gerst of Germany, Serena Auñón-Chancellor of the United States and Sergey Prokopyev of Russian Federation - plan to return December 20 aboard a Soyuz module that has been docked to the station since June. The failure was later attributed to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's final assembly.
In recent years Russia's debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites.
Hague, in post-flight interviews October 16, said he was interested in making another attempt to get to the ISS, but didn't know when that would happen.