Russia’s Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket has successfully lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, delivering life-supporting cargo for the International Space Stations (ISS) crew.
The rocket, carrying a Progress MS-13 cargo craft, was cleared for launch on Friday afternoon following thorough checks on the engine and avionics.
Russian space agency Roscosmos filmed the launch of the mission which is set to deliver fuel, food, and water to the ISS
On the latest occasion in September, a manned Soyuz spacecraft lifted off from the famed Baikonur Cosmodrome with a three-member crew on board. The trio included two ISS Expedition 61 members, Oleg Skripochka and Jessica Meir, as well as the first Emirati astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri.
The time-tested rocket will likely remain Roscosmos’ workhorse for years to come. Earlier this year, NASA reportedly asked Moscow to allocate extra rides aboard its Soyuz spacecraft, with Roscosmos agreeing to provide for the US’ needs.
In October 2018 launch failure was the first and only major incident in Russia’s modern history involving a manned space mission. One of the four first stage boosters of the Souyz-FG rocket failed to jettison properly and ruptured the vehicle’s central block, steering it off course. A contingency abort was initiated. The capsule carrying Roscosmos cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague was successfully deployed before the launch vehicle was fully destroyed, and landed with both crew members unharmed.
One year ago astronauts Anne McClain from NASA, David Saint-Jacques from the Canadian Space Agency and cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos left aboard the rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just after 11.30am GMT.
They docked with the station at 17.23 GMT but waited two hours while the latches and seals of the docking port were checked and ground controllers confirmed it was safe to open the spacecraft’s hatch to join the cosmonauts already aboard the international space station.
The trio were planned to stay at the ISS for the following six-and-a-half months.