BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts has successfully docked with the International Space Station following a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan six hours earlier.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos docked with the station at 11:33 p.m. Monday.
The crew must wait up to two hours while the latches and seals of the docking port are checked and ground controllers confirm it is safe to open the spacecraft’s hatch and join the astronauts already aboard the station.
Stakes were high for Monday’s launch, the first to carry a crew since a previous mission to the space station in October was aborted two minutes into the flight after a booster failed to properly separate from the rocket.
A leader in space exploration, Houston-based NASA’s Johnson Space Center is considered the nucleus of the nation’s astronaut corps. Established in 1961 on nearly 1,700 acres, it’s home to International Space Station mission operations, the Orion crew and a host of future space developments, the center plays a pivotal role in human space exploration and enhancing technological and scientific knowledge to benefit all of humankind.