The three astronauts on the 58th expedition departed this morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and six hours later arrived at the International Space Station, this time without incident.
The mission resumes the logic of replacement scales envisaged after the incident with the Soyuz explosion in October. At the time rocket failure forced astronauts and cosmonauts to land in an emergency, and it was feared that the lack of solutions to put a new team on the International Space Station could make the facility empty for the first time since it was placed in space.
Review the moment of the Soyuz explosion in a video released by the Russian agency Roscosmos.
Today Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos left aboard the Soyuz MS-11 at 10 am (Lisbon time), and after a six-hour trip, making four orbits to Earth, successfully managed to dock at the Space Station. The astronauts had to wait about two hours to open the floodgates, joining the team that will render on the ISS.
The Soyuz approach has been closely monitored by the ground crews as well as the astronauts on the ISS, and there are video clips of the docking process.
If a new team were not sent, the astronauts occupying the station would have to return, if not in December as planned, at least in January. It would be the first time in twenty years that no astronaut was aboard.
Today's launch is set to re-set the agenda, and the current ISS team, consisting of Alexander Gerst of ESA, Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscomos, returns on December 20 after six months of mission .
The current team marks the "baptism" of flight of two members, Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques, "patronized" by the experienced Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos that is already the fourth trip to the ISS. The new team will remain in space for the next six and a half months, conducting hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the ISS.
The next mission, scheduled for March 2019, will include astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.