Astronauts arrive safely on International Space Station



Soyuz took off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just after 11.31am GMT (NASA/PA)

The latest batch of astronauts to take up residence on board the International Space Station (ISS) have arrived safely following a six-hour flight.

Astronauts Anne McClain from American space agency NASA, David Saint-Jacques from the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos left aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just after 11.31am GMT.

The trio will stay at the orbital laboratory for the next six-and-a-half months, briefly joining the current crew of Expedition 57, Nasa’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Commander Alexander Gerst and Roscosmos’s Sergey Prokopyev.

The latest trip comes less than two months after a previous mission on October 11 failed, when two astronauts from the US and Russia were forced to make an emergency landing, as a result of a problem with the booster.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’s Alexei Ovchinin safely landed back on Earth in an emergency capsule shortly after taking off.

The incident was the first manned launch failure for the Russian space programme since September 1983, when a Soyuz craft exploded on the launch pad. Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad.

Chris Price
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