It was only after the spacecraft safely entered orbit about nine minutes later, drawing the first applause from an audience watching a live NASA feed, that Thirsk admitted to some pre-launch jitters about the Canadian astronaut's mission.
The launch of the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying Saint-Jacques, Anne McClain of NASA and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, appeared to go exactly as planned, lifting off at precisely 6:31 a.m.
NASA's Anne McClain, Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Canada's David Saint-Jacques were aboard the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Monday as part of Expedition 58.
Three astronauts successfully blasted off Monday to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, a flawless launch that follows October's aborted mission. Crate Club is the #1 men's subscription box containing some of the best tactical & survival gear in the nation.
It was the first manned Russian launch since a Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on October 11.
The pair escaped unharmed, but the failed launch was the first such accident in Russia's post-Soviet history and a new setback for the country's once proud space industry.
Payette, who completed missions to the space station in 1999 and 2009, knows what to expect during the drama of the launch.
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Almost two months after a rocket malfunction forced NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos to abort the launch of a Soyuz mission, a new crew blasted off on Monday for the International Space Station and arrived safe and sound.
"Although we knew that you were safe and sound, there was nothing like seeing you come through the hatch", Laporte said.
As Saint-Jacques became just the ninth Canadian to head into space, people across the country connected with the Canadian Space Agency to watch Saint-Jacques' historic flight.
Russian investigators blamed that malfunction, which occurred as the first and second stages of a booster rocket separated, on a damaged sensor.
Astronauts Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst are at the space station waiting for their arrival.
Aboard the station, he will conduct a number of science experiments, with some focusing on the physical effects of the weak gravity astronauts experience in orbit. They'll be greeted by current occupants Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev, who are scheduled to then ride the Soyuz back to Earth on December 20.