Soyuz spacecraft lifts off with three astronauts for ISS

March 15, 2019 09:06
The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft, carrying Aleksey Ovchinin of Russia and Nick Hague and Christina Koch of the United States, blasts off from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday. Photo: Reuters

A Russian-made Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday, carrying three astronauts into space, two of whom survived a mid-air rocket failure in October, Reuters reports.

The Soyuz MS-12 took off at 1914 GMT (3:14 a.m. Friday in Hong Kong), as planned, and is due to bring Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and US astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch to the International Space Station (ISS) around eight hours later.

For Ovchinin and Hague, it is the first flight since an emergency landing two minutes after they blasted off on Oct. 11, 2018.

An investigation showed then that the abortive launch was caused by a sensor damaged during the rocket’s assembly at the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This week, Ovchinin and Hague said they were confident this time about reaching the ISS, though they said a small fault had been discovered on their rocket during final checks.

Hague said the rocket failure in October and the successful emergency landing in which neither he nor Ovchinin was physically hurt had shown that the rocket was “able to do its job”.

“So, I’m 100 percent confident in the rocket to deliver us to the space station and bring us home safely,” he said.

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