Soyuz Rocket, First Astronauts Launch into Space since Failure

Washington, Three astronauts have blasted off

on the first manned Soyuz rocket launch since a dramatic failure in

October.

Astronauts from Russia, the US and Canada left from

Kazakhstan on a mission bound for the International Space Station

today.

October’s aborted trip saw two astronauts forced to make an

emergency landing just minutes after take off.

Investigators blamed a faulty sensor, which they said had been

damaged during assembly at the Kazakh site.

A rehearsal unmanned flight, which delivered cargo including

food and fuel supplies, was successfully carried out in mid-November.

The three-person crew’s mission was originally scheduled for

later this month, but officials brought it forward to avoid the ISS being

left unmanned when its current crew return to earth.

The incident on 11 October cast a spotlight on the safety of

Russia’s space programme, whose fleet have suffered a number of

technical failures in recent years.

Afterward, investigators said they believed other Soyuz models

may have been defective, but said additional checks had been

introduced.

Nasa made reassurances about their continued co-operation

with and trust in the Russian programme following the incident.

During their mission, members of the crew are scheduled to

embark on a spacewalk to further probe a mysterious hole that caused

a loss of air pressure on-board the ISS in August. Its cause has not yet

been established, but Russian officials have said they believe it was

caused by a drill and may have been deliberate, the BBC news

reported.

Source: Oman News Agency