Emergency landing astronauts to launch again in spring

Cesar Mills
October 12, 2018

Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russian Federation have made an emergency landing after a booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station failed after launch. NASA's Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin blasted off to the International Space Station from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday, but their Soyuz rocket failed two minutes after the launch, triggering an emergency that sent their capsule into a steep, harrowing fall back to Earth.

Gerst tweeted his relief that the two astronauts were safe, saying the day's events "showed again what an unbelievable vehicle the Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure".

Hague, 43, and Ovchinin, 47, lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from Baikonur.

NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, pledged a thorough investigation after the aborted launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the landing location and collected the astronauts who made it safely back.

Roscosmos' executive director Sergei Krikalyov said in comments on state television that the rocket's failure happened after parts of the first and second stage came into collision.

Smoke rises as first-stage boosters separate from a Soyuz rocket with a Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying a NASA astronaut an a Russian cosmonaut.

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Both the US space agency NASA and Russia's Roscosmos reported that the two were quickly recovered from the landing area by rescue crews. The mission was carrying two crew members instead of its usual three due to Russia's delay of scientific instruments which the third passenger was trained for.

"The breakup of the Soyuz", Kommersant broadsheet said in a frontpage headline, while Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily wrote: "The space industry crashed in a couple of minutes".

The two astronauts were to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) six hours after the launch to join an American, a Russian and a German now aboard the station.

"As we wait for the conclusions of a Russian probe, the Soyuz will perhaps be grounded for some time", he told AFP.

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches until it finds out what went wrong and Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate. The Soyuz-U was retired past year and the FG model is still used to ferry astronauts to the ISS. The derivative has been transporting crews to the space station since coming into service in 2001, conducting 55 successful flights in 17 years.

Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws at the plant in Voronezh. That's a diplomatic way to say the Russian booster failed, forcing the crew to perform a risky launch abort.

Currently, the Russian's Soyuz rocket is the only system in the world that can carry human crew members up to the ISS, and return them safely home afterward.

Other reports by GizPress

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