An American, a Canadian and a Russian blasted into orbit Monday in the first launch of a piloted Russian Soyuz rocket since a dramatic failure in October when a booster failed to separate smoothly and the crew plummeted to earth in an emergency return.
After the hatch opened at 2:37 p.m.
The rocket "Soyuz-FG" with the ship which brought the crew to the station was made at 14:31 GMT on Monday, 3 December, from Baikonur cosmodrome.
Barley two months after a Soyuz made an emergency landing, the Russian spacecraft has safely brought one astronaut each from the U.S. and Canada and a cosmonaut from Russia, to the International Space Station (ISS).
Saint-Jacques is the first Canadian to go to space and live on the International Space Station since Chris Hadfield, who became known for his iconic space tweets.
Saint-Jacques, 48, described the Soyuz spacecraft as "incredibly safe".
"I am completely astounded by everything I have seen", Saint-Jacques said during a brief conversation with family members on the ground at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan.More news: Singer Mika Singh Detained in UAE On Charges Of Harassing Woman
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McClain, Saint-Jacques and Konenenko will spend more than six months conducting hundreds of science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development, providing the foundation for continuing human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, herself a former astronaut, was also among those watching the launch in Kazakhstan.
According to Russian chief investigator Igor Skorobogatov, the cause of the failed launch in October was a "deformation of the stem of the contact separation sensor", which in turn led to the first stage of the rocket hitting the second one. However, he did not get to the station because of the accident of the rocket.
Astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons echoed the message, saying Saint-Jacques was a special role model for her and other young people who may be considering a future in space.
Last month, Roscosmos tweeted a video of the October 11 failed Soyuz rocket launch that forced NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin into making a harrowing emergency landing.
Nasa astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos's Alexei Ovchinin safely landed back on Earth in an emergency capsule shortly after taking off. They are scheduled to return to Earth on December 20.