Russian, US astronauts survive rocket failure in space station launch

James Marshall
October 11, 2018

US astronaut Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

"We are in communication with the crew at this point and hearing they are in good condition", a NASA spokeswoman in Houston said on the space agency's live video feed of the launch. Search and rescue teams were immediately scrambled to recover the crew and paratroopers were dropped from a plane to reach the site and help the rescue effort.

There were only two crew members aboard Soyuz MS-10, and a successful docking would have brought the station crew up to five. The problem with the booster was detected minutes later.

The rocket took off from Kazakhstan and was on its way to the International Space Station.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin will be flown to the Cosmonaut Training Center outside Moscow.

Russian and United States space officials said the crew made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan at an unspecified time.

However, it later tweeted that there had been an issue with the booster from the launch and that the rocket would returning to Earth in "ballistic descend mode".

It was the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013.

The crew "report they are in good condition", NASA said. The crew has now touched down in Kazakhstan, where they are being attended by search and rescue personnel.

The Russian Soyuz rocket was forced to make an emergency landing today after suffering from a malfunction.

Soyuz used its launch abort system for the first time in September 1983 after the Soyuz T rocket caught fire on the launch pad seconds before liftoff. The current crew of three arrived at the station in June on Soyuz MS-09 and, with the craft only having a six-month orbital lifespan, must return in December or January at the latest. Roscosmos has earned billions of dollars in fees ferrying astronauts into orbit since NASA retired its fleet of space shuttles in 2011.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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