Three Soyuz astronauts successfully reach the International Space Station

The rocket took off without incident from the Russian cosmodrome of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and docked at the ISS less than six hours later, more than 400 km above the Earth at 5:31 UT. (File)

A Russian cosmonaut and two US astronauts arrived Friday at the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, five months after the failed launch of a rocket carrying two of the passengers. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and his Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin, who both survived the dramatic launch of Soyuz last year, were joined by NASA astronaut Christina Koch.

The rocket took off without incident from the Russian cosmodrome of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and docked at the ISS less than six hours later, more than 400 kilometers from Earth at 5:31 am HNI, a few minutes later early than expected. During a live broadcast via high definition cameras aboard the ISS, the mission commander, Ovchinin, indicated that the mooring mechanism was activated. A commentator from NASA then confirmed the "capture". The takeoff was closely monitored after the two men's space flight was halted in October when a technical problem with their Soyuz rocket triggered a launch break two minutes after the flight began. The two men escaped unharmed. It was the first such accident in Russia's post-Soviet history and a major setback for its former space industry. Sending out to reporters in anticipation of their six-month mission, Ovchinin said defective launcher components had been found and replaced this week. "Yesterday they found minor malfunctions," said Wednesday at the age of 47. He insisted that the pitcher was in good condition.

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"There are no problems," Ovchinin said. Hague, 43, said he was looking forward to the flight. It was his second attempt to enter the space. "I have 100% confidence in the rocket and the spacecraft," he said. The October abortion was caused by a damaged sensor when mounting the rocket. Vadim Lukashevich, an expert in the field of space, said that last minute replacements were nothing out of the ordinary. "The Soyuz is an old but reliable machine," he told More Bank.

The Russian space industry has experienced many difficulties in recent years, including the loss of cargo ships and many satellites. Ovchinin, who spent six months at the ISS during a previous mission in 2016, has been keen to downplay the drama of the October emergency landing. The abortion is "a little disappointing" after preparations that lasted a year and a half, but also "an interesting and necessary experiment" that tested the depth of the preparation of the space program, he said. declared. Flights from Koch, The Hague and Ovchinin were closely monitored for another reason as well. The successful launch of SpaceX's ISS test of its Dragon vehicle has challenged Russia's monopoly on the space station for eight years already since NASA stopped the launch of the space shuttle. Speaking to reporters, the trio and its three-person backup team insisted on cooperation rather than on competition after the Dragon mission, seen by some as the dawn of an era of commercial space travel conducted by businessmen such as Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX. Koch, a 40-year-old space recruit, described SpaceX's success as "an excellent example of what we have been doing for a very long time." "And that means cooperating with partners and making things very difficult," she says.

Since the launch of the Soyuz mission, the Soyuz mission had failed. The arrival of the trio will bring the crew of the laboratory into orbit to six in total. Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency went to the orbiting outpost in December. During their mission, McClain, Saint-Jacques, The Hague and Koch will make the first outings in the space of their career. This week, in a more lenient moment, Hague offered insight into the specifics of personal grooming aboard the ISS. "In space, we will use a mower attached to a vacuum so that hair particles do not float and do not get stuck in our ventilation systems," he wrote on Twitter. The International Space Station – a rare cooperation area between Moscow and Washington – has been circling the Earth at around 28,000 kilometers per hour since 1998.

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