Astronauts set to board the first manned space mission since an unprecedented accident aboard Russia's Soyuz, on Sunday brushed aside safety concerns, saying they were ready to take risks.
The pair 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.
The crew heading to the ISS dismissed any possible concerns about their safety.
"We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board," the 54-year-old said.
Anne McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, struck a similar note.
"We feel very ready for it," she said.
The accident highlighted the "smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch," the 48-year-old said.
Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who recorded a version of David Bowie's Space Oddity classic aboard the ISS in 2013.
Of the trio set to reach the ISS six hours after blastoff, both Saint-Jacques and McClain will fly for the first time. Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space.
She has said that training to spacewalk was similar to rugby since it demands "grit, toughness, mental focus, and more".
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