A Russian cosmonaut and his NASA co-pilot, five months after riding out a dramatic launch abort last October, finally made it into orbit Thursday and, along with a NASA astronaut making her first flight, docked with the International Space Station six hours later to boost the lab’s crew back to six.
Russian commander Alexey Ovchinin, NASA co-pilot Nick Hague and astronaut Christina Koch lifted off aboard a Soyuz rocket Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading for the International Space Station to raise the research outpost’s crew complement back to six. The Soyuz booster launched at 1914 GMT (3:14 p.m. EDT), and docking at the space station occurred at 0101 GMT (9:01 p.m. EDT).
Russian investigators have traced the cause of a dramatic Oct. 11 Soyuz launch abort to a “deformed” sensor in a system that controlled the separation of a strap-on first-stage booster from the rocket’s central core stage, triggering a dramatic emergency escape for the Russian mission commander and his NASA co-pilot, senior managers said Thursday.
Russian engineers have a “really, really good idea” about what went wrong during a Soyuz launch to the International Space Station Oct. 11, forcing the ship’s two-man crew to carry out an emergency abort, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Tuesday. He added that he expects the Russians to resume piloted Soyuz flights in December.