This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
A Russian-American crew of three has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS), marking success in the second attempt to reach the craft after an aborted launch in October.
The Russian Soyuz rocket carrying U.S. astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch along with Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Ovchinin arrived at 0101 GMT/UTC on March 15, a few minutes ahead of schedule after a six-hour flight.
The hatch is open! At 11:07pm ET, crew members aboard our orbiting laboratory opened the hatch between the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft and the @Space_Station. Watch: https://t.co/ZuxLDtzW9c Ask questions using #AskNASA pic.twitter.com/kBhMwgpWei
— NASA (@NASA) March 15, 2019
The craft lifted off without incident from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 14.
3-2-1… LIFTOFF! 🚀 At 3:14pm ET, @AstroHague, @Astro_Christina and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin launched on a journey to their new home aboard the @Space_Station for a six-and-a-half-month mission. Tune in: https://t.co/sMdhJOnzA3 Ask questions using #askNASA pic.twitter.com/BMtNELZU2I
— NASA (@NASA) March 14, 2019
The Soyuz MS-12 flight reached a designated orbit some nine minutes after the launch, and the crew reported they were feeling fine and all systems on board were operating normally.
On October 11, a Soyuz spacecraft that Hague and Ovchinin were riding in failed two minutes into its flight, activating a rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely.
That accident was the Russian space program’s first aborted crew launch since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch-pad explosion.
The trio were joining American Anne McClain, Russian Oleg Kononenko, and Canadian David Saint-Jacques, who are currently on board the ISS. They will conduct work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science.