Russia Set for First Soyuz Launch to ISS Since Accident

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A Russian Soyuz rocket with a cargo vessel is to blast off Friday in the first launch to the International Space Station (ISS) since a manned accident last month.

“The mission control centre has completed the work set out for the launch of the Progress MS-10 cargo vessel. The takeoff of the Soyuz-FG rocket is set for 1814 GMT,” Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.

The launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is seen as a rehearsal for the next manned voyage, planned for December 3.

That flight is to carry Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and NASA’s Anne McClain to the ISS.

Russia, the only country able to ferry astronauts to the space station, suspended all launches after a Soyuz rocket failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off.

It was the first such incident in the history of post-Soviet space travel.

During the aborted launch, Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague made an emergency landing and escaped unharmed.

NASA had planned a launch of its own supply vessel on Thursday but it was delayed until the weekend because of poor weather.

The Progress MS-10 takes around 48 hours to reach the ISS, bringing with it fuel, oxygen, water and scientific materials.

A commission to probe the October 11 accident reported that the flight was aborted because a sensor part had been damaged during assembly.

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