Russia stages first Soyuz launch since accident

The two-millimetre cavity on the Soyuz spaceship caused an air leak (AFP Photo/HO)

Baikonur (Kazakhstan) (AFP) - A Russian Soyuz rocket with a cargo vessel blasted off Friday in the first launch to the International Space Station (ISS) since a manned accident last month.

The Soyuz-FG rocket took off at the scheduled time of 1814 GMT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, images from Russian space agency Roskosmos showed.

The launch is seen as a rehearsal for the next manned voyage, planned for December 3.

That flight will carry Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and NASA's Anne McClain to the ISS.

Russia, the only country able to ferry astronauts to the space station, suspended all launches after a Soyuz rocket failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off.

During the aborted launch, Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague made an emergency landing and escaped unharmed.

It was the first such incident in the history of post-Soviet space travel.

The Progress MS-10 will take around 48 hours to reach the ISS, bringing with it fuel, oxygen, water and scientific materials.

A commission to probe the October 11 accident reported that the flight was aborted because a sensor part had been damaged during assembly.