Newly arrived space station trio is ‘having a blast’

Soyuz launch
A Russian Soyuz rocket rises from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying three spacefliers into orbit. (NASA TV via YouTube)

A Russian Soyuz rocket sent three spacefliers to the International Space Station today, marking a return to normal operations after a hardware problem spoiled a similar flight in October.

NASA’s Anne McClain, Canada’s David Saint-Jacques and Russia’s Oleg Kononenko lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan into sunset skies as scheduled at 5:31 p.m. local time (3:31 a.m. PT). Gary Jordan, a launch commentator for NASA, hailed a “textbook launch and insertion into orbit.”

The station’s three current crew members could watch the launch from high above. “Looking forward to having a full crew of 6 up here again, at least for a few weeks,” German astronaut Alexander Gerst, the station’s current commander, said in a tweet.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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