Russian crew blasts off to International Space Station

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 15, 2019

Two astronauts who survived a failed Soyuz launch previous year are now on their way to the International Space Station.

US astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, left, Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), pose near a bus prior to the launch of the Soyuz FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

For Ovchinin and Hague, it will be the first flight since a sensor failure two minutes after they blasted off in a similar launch on October 11 forced them to perform an emergency landing.

In December 2018, another crew consisting of the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and NASA's Anne McClain was successfully sent into orbit in the first manned space flight since the incident.

Speaking at a news conference in Baikonur, Ovchinin said a small fault had been discovered in their Soyuz-FG launch vehicle on Tuesday, but had been fixed. There were more checks today and the rocket is fully ready.

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

Mr Hague, 43, added that he was "100% confident in the rocket and the spaceship".

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