Soyuz Space Crew Makes Emergency Landing After Terrifying Booster Failure

Gwen Vasquez
October 14, 2018

"Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster and the launch ascent was aborted", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

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ISS Expedition 57 NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin were redirected to Earth after their Russian-built Soyuz rocket failed mid-launch.

Nasa astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2.40pm Thursday (9.40pm, NZ time) from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket. Additionally, including today, there have been three total failed launches of a crewed Soyuz vehicle - Soyuz 18-1 in 1975, Soyuz T-10-1 in 1983 and the Soyuz MS-10 launch this morning.

Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the landing location and collected the astronauts who made it safely back. That in turn had hindered the separation of the first stage of the rocket from its second stage.

This is the first time a Soyuz craft has failed. The accident has caused all launches of the Soyuz-FG rocket that are now planned to be put on hold until the exact cause of the failure becomes clear.

Manned space launches have been suspended pending an investigation. A state commission has been established to investigate the incident.

Search and rescue teams reported the men are in good condition after making a ballistic descent, which has "a sharper angle of landing compared to normal", NASA said on Twitter.

Krikalev said it would present its first findings around October 20, and before the end of the month.

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Despite its age, the Soyuz platform has been an extremely reliable mode of transportation to space. There are now three astronauts aboard the ISS: Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency; Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA; and Sergey Prokopyev of Russian Federation.

Officials said the two felt fine and did not need any treatment.

After their rescue, Hague and Ovchinin were set to be airlifted to a space flight training center outside of Moscow.

"He's supremely ready to go, and he'll go as soon as the rocket's ready", Hadfield said. However, this could be a problem for the current ISS crew.

The rocket was carrying U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin.

A few hours later, Roscosmos released a photo of Hague and Ovchinin safe and sound at a Kazakhstan airport where they were getting a medical checkup after the ordeal.

Rogozin was flying to the scene of the emergency landing, the space agency said. The leak was quickly repaired, but Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin suggested that the leak was caused by something other than an accident or production defect.

It was an unprecedented mishap for the Russian space programme and a criminal investigation is now under way to determine whether safety regulations had been violated during construction.

Last year, contact was lost with a Soyuz rocket's Fregat upper stage, which was carrying a new weather satellite and 18 secondary satellites.

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