Soyuz MS-12 crew enters ISS after docking complete

Federico Mansilla
Марта 15, 2019

The astronauts will blast off on a Russian Soyuz-MS-12 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Three new crewmembers will join the International Space Station this week, launching today in a Soyuz vessel from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:14 p.m. EDT.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and his Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin, who both survived a dramatically aborted Soyuz launch past year, were joined on the smoothly-executed trip by NASA astronaut Christina Koch.

It is the second manned space mission since the botched October 2018 launch when one of the first stage boosters on a rocket failed around two minutes after the start and the crew were forced to make an emergency landing.

It was the first such accident in Russia's post-Soviet history and a major setback for its once proud space industry.

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"There are no problems", Ovchinin said. The October abort was caused by a sensor damaged during the rocket's assembly.

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

Russia's space industry has in recent years suffered a lot of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and numerous satellites.

Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency blasted off to the orbiting outpost in December and are expected to greet their new crewmates at the hatch early Friday. They are set to dock at the space station in about six hours. On March 29, Koch and McClain will perform the first-ever all-female spacewalk.

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