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December: Graduate blasts off to the International Space Station

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December: Graduate blasts off to the International Space Station

Roscosmos "Concerned" Over NASA Commercial Crew Program The Russian space agency dispelled doubts about its space program after it had successfully launched astronauts from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to the orbiting outpost on Monday, Dec. 3.

After the hatch opened at 2:37 p.m.

The Soyuz lifted off at 1131 GMT from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.

After arriving at the space station, the astronauts will face several missions, for example, making an exploration of the hole discovered in August in one of the Soyuz ships moored to the ISS. Eastern, Saint-Jacques and his two crewmates floated in from the docked Soyuz capsule, embracing the astronauts who have been at the space station since June.

The accident highlighted the "smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch", he said.

The coupling took place at 17:36 GMT to start a 6-and-a-half-month mission in orbit around the Earth, the Russian space agency Roskosmos announced on Twitter.

"The teamwork that you demonstrate today is exactly what we should replicate on Earth more often", she said. Had the rocket not reached orbit, the station might have been left unoccupied for a time.

On the other hand, David Saint-Jacques defended that the space rocket is "very safe". That triggered the Soyuz spacecraft's launch abort system, sending the spacecraft away from the damaged rocket.

In March, the station will again return to a full complement of six crew members when they are joined for Expedition 59 by NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.

It was the first manned launch for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing.

Some of the investigations they will conduct are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth.

This is the first time that McClain and Saint-Jacques have been to the ISS, but the fourth mission for Kononenko.

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

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