MONTREAL – Canadian astronaut David St. Jacques prepares for tense moments during the launch of the Soyuz launch vehicle next Monday, which will send him and two others to the International Space Station.
On October 11, a rocket breakthrough forced the Soyuz spacecraft to transport two astronauts in order to cancel and make an emergency landing. On November 1, Russia suspended the launch of manned spacecraft pending an investigation.
Today, Saint-Jacques turned to journalists from the launch site in Kazakhstan, where he is in quarantine. He said that the most dangerous part of the six-month mission is the 10-minute launch of the Soyuz and the six hours that follow before docking.
According to him, half of the last two and a half years of training was devoted to his role as co-pilot of the Soyuz spacecraft on a trip to the space station.
Saint-Jacques, 48, once said at a space station that he could concentrate on work and life on board an outpost.
The first space trip of a Canadian astronaut, with NASA astronaut Ann McClain and Oleg Kononenkuf from the Russian space agency Roscosmos, was originally planned to launch on December 20. This was advanced after the Russian authorities completed an investigation into the failed launch.
They found that the sensor on board the rocket could not correctly signal the separation of the first and second stages.