As NPR's Bill Chappell reported in October, "The agency does have contracts with commercial companies like Boeing and SpaceX that are developing new vehicles to take astronauts up, but the first flights of those aren't scheduled until next year". He told his family that so far he is "astounded" by everything.
Speaking in French, he described his first sunrise seen from space as "breathtaking".
The agency said that NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin have been assigned to the crew of Soyuz MS-12, the next crewed mission to the ISS, joining NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch. While Saint-Jacques shared before his voyage that he wouldn't be providing the same level of entertainment that Chris Hadfield did, he has retweeted a few Canadian Space Agency tweets since arriving there.
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, herself a former astronaut, was also among those watching the launch in Kazakhstan.
McClain, Saint-Jacques and Konenenko will spend more than six months conducting hundreds of science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development, providing the foundation for continuing human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.
Russian Federation said last month the launch failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.
The Soyuz lifted off at 1131 GMT from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques. Had the rocket not reached orbit, the station might have been left unoccupied for a time.
Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Nick Hague, KG5TMV, who was on the aborted October 11 Soyuz launch, is getting ready for another try.
This is the first manned Soyuz launch since the October 11 failure that caused Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague to make an emergency landing minutes after liftoff.
The new crew of the ISS went into orbit with the applause. The shield will be brought into the station and later returned to earth, Russian space officials said.
Speaking in French, Saint-Jacques said he watched his first sunset from space and called it "breathtaking".