American Astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos Cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, the two spacetravellers who were forced into an emergency ballistic landing following a failed Soyuz launch last year, finally arrived at the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft on Friday, along with American astronaut Christina Koch.
The Soyuz spacecraft can be seen docking with the ISS, and afterwards the crew were welcomed aboard the space station by Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian Astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and American Astronaut Anne McClain.
In a press conference in Baikonur after the spacecraft's successful docking with the ISS, Head of the Russian National Space Agency Roscosmos Dmitri Rogozin together with Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations for NASA William H. Gerstenmaier commented on their plans for continued cooperation between the Russian and American space agencies.
"We decided to maintain our close relationship even as we move in into this new era of the arrival of new American commercial vehicles" Rogozin said.
Gerstenmaier hailed the recent launch as a "tremendous demonstration of how well we can work together as partners" and went on to say that "the challenges of big space, the challenges of going to the Moon, the challenges of being independent from Europe. All require to have the best from our specialists in Russia, our specialists in the United States to work together, to solve these problems and show the world how we can we work together and what amazing things we can accomplish if we work together."
Hague and Ovchinin were forced to abort their Soyuz MS-10 mission to the ISS on 11 October 2018 when one of the first stage boosters on their rocket failed around two minutes after launch.
Rogozin explained that the failure "had no technical factor behind it, it was a human factor and behind this human issue is a very simple word 'irresponsibility'. People who made this mistake are rather experienced ones. And that's what surprises me the most and so we need to remember to never relax, to never take it easy, to always remember what to do."