A Russian Soyuz rocket sent three spacefliers to the International Space Station today, marking a return to normal operations after a hardware problem spoiled a similar flight in October.
A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11, activating an automatic rescue system that sent their capsule into a steep ride back to Earth.
It is the first mission since an aborted launch in October.
Less than two minutes into that flight, one of the rocket's four external boosters failed to separate and accidentally struck the core stage of the rocket, sending it spinning out of control.
Speaking before the trip on Sunday, crew commander Oleg Kononenko affirmed his crew "absolutely" trusted the flight's preparation.
McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will live on the ISS for six-and-a-half months.
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this incredible image during a crewed Soyuz launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 3, 2018.
"Risk is part of our profession", the 54-year-old said at a press conference.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is now the only organisation transporting astronauts to the ISS after Nasa ended its space shuttle flights in 2011.
Roscomos later said the cause of the accident was a defective sensor.
Ahead of Monday's launch a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the spaceship on its launchpad, in accordance with tradition.
Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, 48, agreed that the Soyuz spacecraft was "incredibly safe".
Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space.
She has said that training to spacewalk resembled the sport since it demands "grit, toughness, mental focus, and more". In recent years Russia's debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites.