ISSN 2330-717X

US-Russian Crew Blasts Off To International Space Station


(RFE/RL) — A Russian-American crew of three has lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, making a second attempt to reach the International Space Station (ISS) after an aborted launch in October.

The Russian Soyuz rocket is carrying U.S. astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch along with Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Ovchinin.

The Soyuz MS-12 flight reached a designated orbit some nine minutes after the launch, and the crew reported they were feeling fine and all systems on board were operating normally.

They were set to dock at the ISS in some six hours.

On October 11, a Soyuz spacecraft that Hague and Ovchinin were riding in failed two minutes into its flight, activating a rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely.

That accident was the Russian space program’s first aborted crew launch since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch pad explosion.

The trio will join American Anne McClain, Russian Oleg Kononenko, and Canadian David Saint-Jacques, who are currently on board the ISS.

They will conduct work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

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RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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