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New Two-Ham ISS Crew Launched to ISS is the First Since Aborted Flight:

from The ARRL Letter on December 6, 2018
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New Two-Ham ISS Crew Launched to ISS is the First Since Aborted October Flight:

Three astronauts -- including two radio amateurs -- have docked at the International Space Station (ISS) on the first crewed Soyuz vehicle launch since a dramatic failure in October. The astronauts, from the US, Canada, and Russia, left Kazakhstan at 1130 UTC on December 3, and the Russian space agency Roscomos confirmed their successful docking at the station. On board were David Saint-Jacques, KG5FYI, a Canadian engineer, astrophysicist, and medical doctor; space veteran Oleg Kononenko, RN3DX, of Russia, and Anne McClain, of the US. Investigators have blamed a faulty sensor, said to have been damaged during assembly in Kazakhstan. Crew commander Kononenko said his crew recognized the risks of spaceflight as part of their profession and expressed confidence in the flight preparation.

The three-person crew's mission was originally set for later this month, but officials moved up the date to avoid leaving the space station unstaffed, when the current ISS crew of cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and astronauts Serena Aun-Chancellor, KG5TMT, and Alexander Gerst, KF5ONO, return to Earth on December 20.

Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Nick Hague, KG5TMV, who was on the aborted October 11 Soyuz launch, is getting ready for another try. Hague, NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are scheduled to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome on February 28 aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft.

The trio will join the ISS Expedition 58 crew that just went up, and they will return to Earth in October 2019 as members of Expedition 60. Hague and Koch will serve as flight engineers for Expeditions 59 and 60. Ovchinin will serve as a flight engineer on Expedition 59 and as the commander of Expedition 60.

This will be Koch's first spaceflight. Hague and Ovchinin were on their way to join the station's Expedition 57 crew on October 11, when their Soyuz's rocket booster experienced a malfunction shortly after launch, aborting the mission. Both returned safely to Earth. The MS-10 flight abort marked the first Russian human spaceflight booster accident in 35 years.

Investigators looking into the October 11 incident said afterward that other Soyuz vehicles may have been similarly defective, but pointed out that additional pre-flight checks had been introduced. NASA offered its own reassurances about continued cooperation with and confidence in the Russian space program.


The ARRL Letter

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