About two months after the dramatic false start of a Russian Soyuz rocket, a crew flew to the International Space Station ISS for the first time.
The rocket with the US astronaut Anne McClain, the Russian Oleg Kononenko and the Canadian David Saint-Jacques started on Monday scheduled from the Russian spaceport Baikonur.
After separating from the third propulsion stage, the spaceship set course for the outpost of humanity some 400 kilometers above the earth. There, the spacemen arrived about six hours later, as the US space agency Nasa announced.
The three astronauts are to stay in space for about six months and initially strengthen the crew around the German commander Alexander Gerst. The flight and deployment plans were confused on the ISS after the rocket had failed shortly after taking off in October. Two astronauts were able to escape unhurt at that time.
„Welcome to space“, Gerst wrote on Twitter and congratulated on the „flawless start“. Previously, the 42-year-old had already tweeted that the ISS was ready for the new colleagues. „We’re getting the ISS back in shape before our friends arrive on the Soyuz MS-11,“ he wrote, posting photos of the final preparations. Gerst, who comes from Baden-Württemberg, has been on the ISS since June and has been the first German to take command since the beginning of October. Shortly before Christmas, he is to return to Earth with his colleagues currently stationed at the ISS, Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Sergei Prokopjew.
According to the Russian space agency Roskosmos, the next manned launch of a missile to the ISS is scheduled for March 1, 2019. Then the spacemen Alexei Ovtschinin and Nick Hague are to be sent into space. They had survived the false start unhurt. They are therefore accompanied by NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, who flies to the ISS for the first time.
Roskosmos boss Dmitri Rogosin told Russian media that he was glad that the crew had successfully reached the ISS this time. Referring to the findings after the October crash, he emphasized: „It is very important not to make mistakes, but most importantly to correct these mistakes.“