Three astronauts took off on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, after undergoing a month of quarantine, due to the coronavirus pandemic, prior to their six-month mission in space. Russians Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, along with American Christopher Cassidy blasted off from the Russian-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome spaceport in Kazakhstan at 1:05 pm local time (0805 UTC). “We feel fantastic,” Cassidy said during a press conference the day before the launch, which was televised but had no journalists present. Read more: Work and live on Mars — Inside a new base developed for future missions No goodbyes As an additional precaution, the astronauts were not allowed to say goodbye to their families in person, in addition to being isolated for one month before the flight, as COVID-19 took a global hold. Cassidy said it was difficult for the crew to leave without saying goodbye to their families. “But we realize that the whole world is affected by the crisis,” he added. The three astronauts will dock with the ISS’s Poisk module after about six hours of spaceflight. At the ISS, they will join Expedition 62 Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos and NASA Flight Engineers Andrew… Read full this story
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