Kansas man gets second chance at outer space

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WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas astronaut says he’s ready for his next mission after a failed space launch in October.

Hoxie native Nick Hague will embark on a six-month stay with two other crew members at the International Space Station. The scheduled launch aboard a Soyuz MS12 spacecraft is set for Feb. 28, 2019.

Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch will join Hague in the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, The Wichita Eagle reported .

On board the station, they will participate in about 250 research experiments and technology demonstrations made possible by micro-gravity conditions inside the station.

Ovchinin was also aboard the initial failed rocket set to launch on Oct. 11, 2018. Shortly after launch that day, the rocket’s booster malfunctioned in a rare failure for the Soyuz rocket. Hague and Ovchinin successfully aborted the mission and made a “ballistic descent” back to Earth in a capsule.

“Essentially the rocket came apart underneath us,” Hague said at a news conference Wednesday.

Hague said he’s looking forward to the new mission even more than his previous one, in part because of the addition of Koch to the crew. She and Hague were part of the same astronaut class at NASA.

“What we’re doing is making advancements for all of humanity,” Hague said.

Hague, Ovchinin and Koch will return to Earth in October 2019.

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