Soyuz rocket launches flawlessly, takes trio to ISS

Russia's Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the members of the International Space Station expedition 58/59 Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko NASA astronaut Anne Mc Clain and David Saint Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency blasts off to the ISS

Russia's space agency Roscosmos has now successfully launched five Soyuz rockets since the incident, and does not believe there is a chance of the failure repeating.

McClain, Saint-Jacques, and Konenenko will join Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, who will train the new crew until their departure on December 20. They will head to the ISS after a Soyuz rocket carrying Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off.

This will be the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle crash on October 11.

It was particularly troubling considering the fact that the Soyuz is now the only spacecraft and rocket that can take humans to space these days, since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

The Russian rocket carries US astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko‎ and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques.

The three-man crew appeared briefly before relatives and reporters on Monday morning, waving and blowing kisses as they left a hotel to board a bus on their way to prepare for the flight.

It lifted off from Kazakhstan carrying Oleg Kononenko, a Russian, Anne McClain, of the United States, and David Saint-Jacques, of Canada.

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"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said at a press conference.

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board". Anne McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, struck a similar note. "We feel very ready for it", she said.

Saint-Jacques joked that he had received so much training ahead of the flight "that I felt at the end that I could build a Soyuz in my backyard".

Since the mishap, four successful unmanned Soyuz satellite launches have been conducted.

The families of the crew, other astronauts and space officials from several nations breathed a sigh of relief Monday after observing the flawless launch, with October's rocket failure still on the minds of many.

The ISS went a crew of three. The Soyuz capsule carrying the astronaut reached the ISS six hours later. CBC News Network will also broadcast the interactive special featuring Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

The past few months had been tense at Roscosmos, Russia's space agency. But comments by the combative chief of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, have increasingly raised eyebrows.

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