New Crew Arrives Safely on ISS, Hague and Ovchinin Get A Second Chance

New Crew Arrives Safely on ISS, Hague and Ovchinin Get A Second Chance

The launch of Soyuz MS-11 took place without incident today, delivering three new crew members to the International Space Station (ISS). This was the first crew launch since the October 11, 2018 Soyuz MS-10 failure. The two-man Soyuz MS-10 crew, NASA’s Nick Hague and Roscosmos’s Aleksey Ovchinin, did not make it to ISS that day, but they will get a second chance in February on Soyuz MS-12.

Liftoff of Soyuz MS-11 was on time at 6:31 am ET this morning, carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.  They docked with the ISS six hours and two minutes later at 12:33 pm ET and opened the hatch into the ISS at 2:37 pm ET.  They joined the three crew members who have been aboard since June: NASA’s Serena Auñón-Chancellor, ESA’s Alexander Gerst, and Roscosmos’s Sergey Prokopyev.

Their arrival restores ISS to its usual crew complement of six, but only for two-and-a-half weeks.  Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst, and Prokopyev will return to Earth on December 20 at 12:03 am ET (undocking is December 19 at 8:42 pm ET).

Their replacements will launch on February 28, 2019 on Soyuz MS-12.  NASA announced the flight crew for that mission today.  It will reunite Hague and Ovchinin for a second shot at their Soyuz MS-10 mission, which was foiled when one of the four Soyuz strap-on rockets did not detach properly and impacted the core stage about two minutes after launch.  The rocket was destroyed, but automated systems instantly separated the crew capsule and boosted it to a sufficiently high altitude that it could land under parachutes much as if the capsule was returning from space.

In fact, NASA said in its announcement that Soyuz MS-10 got high enough that it is counting the mission as a spaceflight, even though the crew did not reach orbit.  Thus, they consider Soyuz MS-12 to be Hague’s second spaceflight and Ovchinin’s third.

Joining them on Soyuz MS-12 will be NASA’s Christina Hammock Koch, who had been assigned to a mission in April 2019.

Soyuz TM-12 crew, L-R: Nick Hague (NASA), Christina Hammock Koch (NASA), Aleksey Ovchinin (Roscosmos). Credit: NASA



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