Astronauts survive emergency landing after booster fails on Russian rocket

James Marshall
October 12, 2018

According to Nasa, initial reports are that the crew landed in good condition and got in contact with the space agency. Three Americans, two Russians and one German are now aboard the station. But as the Soyuz is now the only way we have to get humans into space, this means new crew can't be sent to the ISS until Roscosmos is confident the issue has been identified and resolved. Popular Mechanics describes ballistic re-entry as "steep and short" compared to the long, flat profile of a "controlled descent".

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A Russian rescue mission found both members of the crew alive and well about 12 to 15 miles outside a small city in central Kazakhstan. The crew has now touched down in Kazakhstan, where they are being attended by search and rescue personnel. This incident will likely delay the scheduled mission of Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who was set to fly to the space station in December.

RIA news agency, citing its own source, reported that Russian Federation had made a decision to suspend all manned space launches following the "Soyuz" failure. Both men appear understandably disappointed in the wake of what they just experienced, and the realization that they won't be headed to the International Space Station any time soon.

The malfunction could cause a headache for NASA. This was Ovchinin's second trip to the station, and Hague's first trip.

A NASA statement on the aborted launch stated: "NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully".

After the crew successfully navigated the failure and landed safely, they boarded a plane to fly back to the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

There are a few potential alternatives to leaving the ISS without a crew for the first time in almost 20 years, but given the risk-adverse nature of human spaceflight, it seems unlikely NASA or Roscosmos will want to tempt fate on any of them.

"An investigative group has been formed and officials are now examining the launch site, documents are being seized", the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Eastern time aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. That 0.08-inch (2-millimeter) hole in the orbital module of the Soyuz vehicle created a small air leak on the space station that was detected by flight controllers on the ground and ultimately repaired by astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station. An investigation into that anomaly and how the hole was formed is also underway.

Hague and Ovchinin were shown being violently shaken in the vessel, and shortly thereafter the feed cut out - to be replaced with a look inside NASA's mission control room.

A source in the Russian space agency said that rescue workers had reached the crew.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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