Crew from aborted Soyuz capsule set for ISS mission next week

Washington: NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos who were forced to abort their mission to the International Space Station (ISS) when their Soyuz’s rocket booster malfunctioned shortly after launch in October last year are set to launch again on March 14.

The two will be joined by NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch for the launch aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, NASA said.

The trio will join the station’s Expedition 59 crew and return to Earth in October 2019 as members of Expedition 60.

During their mission, the station crew will take part in about 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth to advance scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical, and biological sciences, NASA said.

The US still uses Russian Soyuz spacecraft for sending astronauts to the space station.

But on March 2, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX successfully launched its unmanned Crew Dragon test flight to the International Space Station.

Launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, it was the first test mission of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft and rocket designed for humans. The Crew Dragon capsule docked with the ISS on Sunday.