Trio Prepares For First Soyuz Manned Launch Since October Accident

One Russian cosmonaut and two astronauts from the United States and Canada are set to board the first manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) since an aborted launch in October.

A Soyuz rocket carrying Roscosmos’s Oleg Kononenko, NASA’s Anne McClain, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency was scheduled to launch from the Baikonur comsodrome in Kazakhstan on December 3.

A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague failed two minutes into its flight on October 11.

Neither man was injured in the incident, which was blamed on a faulty sensor damaged during the rocket’s assembly.

The trio set to reach the ISS six hours after blastoff on December 2 brushed aside safety concerns, with Kononenko saying that “risk is part of our profession.”

Speaking at a news conference at Baikonur, Kononenko also said that the crew “absolutely” trusted teams preparing them for the flight.

“We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board,” the 54-year-old crew commander also said.

McClain, 39, struck a similar note, saying, “We feel very ready for it.”

And the 48-year-old Saint-Jacques said that the Soyuz spacecraft was “incredibly safe.”

Both Saint-Jacques and McClain will fly in space for the first time, while Kononenko will embark on his fourth space mission.

With reporting by AFP and TASS

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