MOSCOW – A Soyuz spacecraft with three crewmembers on-board blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan en route to the International Space Station two months after a previous flight was forced to abort a trip after lift-off and perform an emergency landing when its boosters malfunctioned mid-launch, Russian authorities said.
The MS-11 flight, crewed by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and American Anne McLain, is set to dock at the ISS at around 1736 GMT.
Minutes after the launch from the Russian-leased cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russia’s space flight agency confirmed the capsule had entered its programmed orbit and had begun its autopiloted trajectory toward the station.
On Oct. 11, American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin were forced to perform an emergency landing when the Soyuz MS-10 malfunctioned shortly after takeoff in what was the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history.
Video images from inside the manned capsule showed the two-man crew experiencing a violent shaking motion as the spacecraft rose through the atmosphere.
The ISS, a 16-nation project representing an investment of more than $150 billion, currently comprises 14 permanent modules and orbits the Earth at a speed of more than 27,000 kph (16,800 mph).
The station’s orbit is boosted periodically with the assistance of the thrusters of docked spacecraft, as the ISS loses 100-150 meters (328-492 feet) of altitude per day due to earth’s gravity, solar activity and other factors.