The spacecraft carrying Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques has successfully docked at the International Space Station, six hours after blasting off from Kazakhstan.
On NASA television a commentator said “Good contact, and capture” as the Soyuz MS-11 space capsule reached the space station at 12:33 p.m. Eastern.
WATCH: Get to know Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques
With Saint-Jacques, Anne McClain of NASA and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, on board, the Soyuz lifted off this morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The launch appeared to go exactly as planned at the precise liftoff time of 6:31 a.m. Eastern.
The rocket roared into the sky under 930 pounds of thrust and at a speed of 1,770 kilometres per hour.
The crew reported that all went well in those critical initial minutes after liftoff.
Back on Canadian soil, a crowd monitored the launch from the Canadian Space Agency in Longueuil, Quebec as the rocket began its roughly trip to the space station.
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Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains praised the successful takeoff and said the mission offers an exciting opportunity for scientific research and developments that could have broad applications, in such things as robotics and aging.
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He says what Saint Jacques represents is inspirational calling today an incredible day in space.
Astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons echoed the message, saying Saint-Jacques was a special role model for her and other young people who may be considering a future in space.
This is the first manned Russian rocket launch since a dramatic aborted Soyuz failure in October.
The 48-year-old Saint-Jacques has spent years training for the six-month mission, which was originally scheduled for December 20th but was moved up after the aborted Soyuz launch.
Aboard the station, he will conduct a number of science experiments, with some focusing on the physical effects of the weak gravity astronauts experience in orbit as well as how to provide remote medical care.
The arrival of the three astronauts restores the space station’s crew to six as they join Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, who are scheduled to remain aboard until the 20th.
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