Vladimir Ishachenkov and Dmitry Lovetsky, Associated Press
Published Friday, March 15, 2019 3:32 PM EDT
BAKCONUR, Kazakhstan – A Russian-American crew arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, five months after the unsuccessful launcher led to an emergency landing for two of the three astronauts.
This time, the Russian Soyuz rocket, transmitted by NASA astronauts, Nick Hague and Christina Koch together with Alexei Ovchinin from Roscosmos, rose precisely according to the plan from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday (14 pm on Thursday) at 12:14 hours.
Six hours later, their capsule is fastened to the orbit of the orbit.
On October 11, Soyuz, which carried The Hague and Ovchin, failed to fly, triggering a rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely. This crash was the first missed launch of the crew for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely dropped after the launch of the launch pad.
On Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridgestone congratulated the crew members for a successful launch. "So proud of Nick Hague to persevere through the October launch last, which was not as planned," he explained.
Speaking at a news conference in Baikonur, astronauts say they believed in the rocket and fully believed in the success of their mission.
"I'm 100 percent confident in the rocket and the spacecraft," Hague said. "The October events only helped to solidify and increase confidence in the vehicle to complete its work."
The trio will join Ana McLane from NASA, Oleg Kononenko from Roscosmos and David Saint Jacques from the Canadian Space Agency, who are already on the space station. They will work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.
When one of the four amps for their Soyuz failed to split properly two minutes after their launch in October, The Hague and Ovcinin were thrown out of the rocket. Their rescue capsule dropped backwards on Earth with flashing lights and alarms screaming, subjecting the crew to seven times the gravitational force.
The Hague noted on Wednesday that they are well trained in the emergency situation.
"The nature of our profession is that we spend 90-95 percent of our time practicing what to do when things go wrong," he said. "And so we spend all that training time running through all those scenarios. And since we train in that way, as in October, when such things happen, we were ready to do what we need to do to get out of the way" .
The October failure was the first canceled launch for the Russian space program in 35 years, and only the third in history. Each time, the automatic rescue system on the rocket kept the crew secure.
The Russian investigation attributes the October failure of the sensor that was damaged during the final assembly of the rocket. The next emission of the crew of the space station in December continued at no cost.
Ovchinin remembers that they felt "more agitated than the accentuated" when their rescue capsule touched the infertile steppes of Kazakhstan. "It was disappointing and a little frustrating that we did not manage to reach the International Space Station," he said.
NASA and Roscosmos praised the courage and comfort of the crew in the canceled launch, and vowed to quickly give them a second chance in space.
"We do not accept the risk blindly, we have softened it as much as we can, and we always plan to be successful," Hague said.
Ovchinin noted that the discontinued launch in October was "an interesting and very useful experience" that "proved the credibility of the emergency rescue system".
Since retiring the US shuttle fleet in 2011, the Soyuz spacecraft is the only vehicle that transport crews to the space station.
However, NASA considers SpaceX and Boeing to begin launching astronauts later this year. The ship, SpaceX, returned from a six-day test flight to the space station and could take astronauts there on the next flight since this summer.
Ishachenkov reported from Moscow.