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First manned space mission launched since Soyuz 'failure



Baikonur (Kazakhstan) (AFP) – The International Space Station's first manned space mission since an unprecedented accident in October, which caused concern over Moscow's Soviet spaceship, will start on Monday.

Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, NASC's Anne McClain, and Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques all warned of security concerns and said the risk was just part of the job.

They start on Monday at 1131 GMT aboard a Soyuz of Baikonur in Kazakhstan for a two and a half month mission.

The launch takes place after a Soyuz rocket, which had carried the Russian Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague, failed on October 11 and forced the pair to make an emergency landing.

They managed to escape unhurt, 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.

Before Monday A Russian Orthodox priest traditionally blessed the spaceship on its launch pad while the crew spoke calmly about the dangers involved.

"Risk is part of our profession," said Occupation Commander Oleg Kononenko at a press conference in Baikonur. On Sunday, they added that they were "absolutely" trustworthy teams preparing them for the flight.

"We are psychologically and technically prepared for the blast and every situation that can happen on board," said the 54-year-old. 19659009] Kononenko added that on December 11, the crew would make a spacewalk as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that caused an air leak on the ISS.

Anne McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, said the crew was looking forward to the climb.

"We are very ready for this," she said.

– "Soyuz in my backyard" –

Canadians Saint-Jacques (48) described the Soyuz spacecraft as "unbelievably safe."

The accident emphasized the "smart Soyuz design and incredible work, who prepared the search and rescue people here on the ground for every takeoff, "he said.

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

From the trio, six hours after blastoff to the ISS Both Saint-Jacques and McClain will fly for the first time.

Kononenko begins his fourth mission Awe-inspiring 533 days in space.

Russia said last month that the launch had failed because a sensor had been damaged during assembly at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but insisted that the spacecraft had remained reliable.

The Soviet-designed Soyuz rocket is currently the only lifeline in the world for the ISS.

Saint-Jacques is the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who in 2013 recorded a version of David Bowie's Space Oddity classic on board.

Canada's Governor in General and It is expected that American astronaut Julie Payette will be one of the dignitaries watching Monday's launch.

– "Space Walk Like Rugby" –

McClain served in Iraq and has represented the United States in women's rugby.

She said that Spacewalking training was similar to sport because it called for "sand, toughness, mental focus, and more."

The cooperation between Russia and the US in space is still one of the few areas that were not affected by a crisis in the connection between the former cold war opponents.

But the remarks of the fighting chief of the Russian Space Agency, Dmitry Rogozin, have increasingly raised eyebrows.

He recently joked that Russia would send a mission to the Moon to "check" if NASA's moon landings were "not" or not.

In recent years, Russia's indebted space industry has suffered a number of mishaps, including the loss of spacecraft and satellites.


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