Soyuz with 3 astronauts docks with space station

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A Russian, an American and a Canadian astronaut will take off for the worldwide space station on Monday in the first manned launch of a Soyuz rocket since a crash in October.

Rocket docks at space station A Russian-made Soyuz rocket with a three-man crew arrived at the International Space Station yesterday in the first manned mission since a failed launch in October.

NASA confirmed that "the spacecraft separation; Soyuz capsule and crew are safely in orbit".

It will be the fourth visit to the ISS for Russian cosmonaut Mr Kononenko, while the trip will be the first for both Anne McClain from the United States and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.

They escaped unharmed but the failed launch was the first such incident in Russia's post-Soviet history and a new setback for the country's once proud space industry.

Astronauts from Russian Federation, the U.S. and Canada onboard the Soyuz MS-11 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the International Space Station today at 6:31 a.m. EST.

At a press conference on the eve of the launch, crew commander Kononenko said the astronauts "absolutely" trusted teams preparing for the flight. "We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur onboard".

They'll spend about six hours in orbit before docking at the ISS around 12:30 p.m, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.

On Monday, NASA announced Hague and Ovchinin will now launch to the space station on February 28, along with NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch.

McClain Saint-Jacques and Kononenkoof before launch
McClain Saint-Jacques and Kononenkoof before

Back on Canadian soil, a crowd monitored the launch from the Canadian Space Agency in Longueuil, Que., as the rocket began its trip to the space station.

RFE also quoted McClain, 39, saying: "We feel very ready for it".

Saint-Jacques, 48, described the Soyuz spacecraft as "incredibly safe".

Payette, who completed missions to the space station in 1999 and 2009, says the most risky moments come immediately following the launch as the rocket passes through several "critical zones" on its way into space.

During their mission, members of the crew are scheduled to embark on a spacewalk to further probe a mysterious hole that caused a loss of air pressure on-board the ISS in August.

It will be the first flight for both McClain and Saint-Jacques and the fourth for Kononenko.

"The #Exp58 crew is safely in orbit!"

But comments by the combative chief of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, have raised eyebrows.

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