Mar 15, 2019 08:10 AM EDT
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan -- NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin both survived the drama over the aborted space mission of Soyuz last year. This year, they have successfully blasted off to space Thursday, March 14, 2019.
The two men were joined by Christina Hammock Koch, a US astronaut who was seen happy as her space suit was being tested while onboard the spacecraft, the Soyuz MS-12, from Baikonur Cosmodrome. They lifted off at the expected time of 1914 GMT.
"The crew are now traveling to the International Space Station," according to the NASA television commentator. Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, confirmed such reports and assured that the Soyuz has entered the orbit.
The lift-off was carefully watched as the two had a failed space journey back in October 2018 because of some technical glitch with the Soyuz rocket. The rocket triggered an abort two minutes shortly after it has been launched to a flight. Both astronauts were able to escape without harm, but both were saddened about what happened. It was the first of such an accident In Russia's history. In fact, it is now considered as one of its largest setbacks considering that there are known all over the world for their proud space industry.
Six months prior to the launch of their mission, Ovchinin, the mission's flight commander said that there were some components of the spacecraft that were found faulty. They were immediately replaced to keep them from further delays. "Yesterday, they found some malfunctioning parts of the craft and immediately replaced it," said the 47-year old astronaut. He further insisted that the launch was in good shape and that they were not expecting any delays.
Hague, who is 43, said that he was looking forward to getting into the Earth's Orbit. It would be his second attempt to get to space and he hopes that it would be a rather successful one. "Soyuz is an old yet it remains to be a very reliable machine," said space expert Vadim Lukashevich. The space industry in Russia has experienced a number of mishaps including the loss of a cargo spacecraft and a great number of satellites.
Ovchinin who was also in the International Space Station for another mission in 2016 has been very keen on downplaying the drama that occurred with the Soyuz in 2018. He refers to the aborted mission as "a little disappointing" after all the preparations they made, but it was an "interesting experience."
Hague, Ovchinin and Koch six-hour flight was closely watched for all the many and exciting reasons.
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