Astronauts blast off to ISS less than two months after failed launch

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Astronauts have blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS) less than two months after the previous Soyuz mission failed.

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 spacecraft from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just after 11.31am GMT.

ISS Astronauts
Astronauts Anne McClain, Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques (NASA/PA)

The latest trip to the ISS comes after two astronauts from the US and Russia were forced to make an emergency landing on October 11, following an emergency shutdown of the three-stage booster at its second stage.

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.

If the launch of Soyuz MS-11 goes to plan on Monday, the trio should arrive at the ISS about six hours later.

“We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board,” said crew commander Kononenko in a news conference.

Chris Price