The first manned space mission to the International Space Station will launch on Monday.
This manned space mission is first since an unprecedented accident in October, which raised concerns about Moscow´s Soviet-designed spacecraft.
Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency brushed aside any possible safety concerns, saying risk was just part of the job.
They are set to launch at 1131 GMT Monday aboard a Soyuz from Baikonur in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission.
The manned space mission launch comes after a Soyuz rocket carrying Russia´s Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make an emergency landing.
They escaped unharmed but the failed launch was the first such incident in Russia’s post-Soviet history and a new setback for the country’s once proud space industry.
Ahead of Monday’s manned space mission launch a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the spaceship on its launchpad, in accordance with tradition, while the crew spoke calmly of the dangers involved.
“Risk is part of our profession,” crew commander Oleg Kononenko told a news conference at Baikonur on Sunday, adding they “absolutely” trusted teams preparing them for the flight.
“We are psychologically and technically prepared for blastoff and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board,” the 54-year-old said.
Kononenko added that the crew would conduct a spacewalk on December 11 as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS.
Anne McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, said the crew looked forward to going up.