First Crewed Soyuz Rocket Goes to Space After Aborted Mission

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Russia's Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the members of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 58/59, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, blasts off to the ISS from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome on December 3, 2018. The Soyuz carrying the next three ISS crew members will launch just a day before SpaceX plans to send a Dragon spacecraft filled with cargo to the International Space Station from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday.

The last Canadian astronaut to visit the space station was Chris Hadfield, who was on a five-month mission that ended in May 2013.

Three space travellers, including two astronauts on their first flight, are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday for a six-and-a-half month mission, NASA said.

On Monday, NASA announced Hague and Ovchinin will now launch to the space station on February 28, along with NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

Space officials breathed a sigh of relief after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11, activating an automatic rescue system that sent their capsule into a steep ride back to Earth. They were welcomed by Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and astronaut of the European Space Agency Alexander Gerst.

The crew repeatedly denied being nervous about flying and insisted the fact that the two-man crew had safely returned to Earth despite the dramatic mishap had demonstrated the reliability of the rocket's safety mechanisms.

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She offered Saint-Jacques a "Bravo, bravo, bravo" and told the space station crew they were an inspiration for humanity.

"I think I was more anxious today than on a typical Soyuz launch because of the launch abort in October", Thirsk, the first Canadian to fly aboard a Soyuz capsule, said in an interview.

Investigators blamed a faulty sensor which they said had been damaged during assembly at the Kazakh site.

NASA announced Monday that Hague and Ovchinin will now launch to the space station on February 28, along with NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his thanks to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin and to NASA and Roscosmos teams "for their dedication to making this launch a success".

NASA TV said that astronauts from Russian Federation, the US and Canada left safely from Kazakhstan earlier today in a mission bound for the International Space Station.

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