American and Russian astronauts escape malfunctioning Soyuz launch

Cesar Mills
October 14, 2018

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster which carries the Soyuz MS-10 capsule is pictured on its way to the International Space Station.

A search-and-rescue team has reached the landing site, both crewmembers are in good condition and have left the Soyuz capsule as of 6:10 a.m. EDT, NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said during live television commentary.

Bridenstine praised the Soyuz emergency rescue system, saying it functioned like a "miracle". Roscosmos, the Russian firm that operates the nation's space agency and is responsible for Soyuz launches, will not hold any news conferences today.

Sergei Krikalev, a senior Roscosmos official, said on Friday that Russian Federation may also delay a planned unmanned cargo shipment by a Progress spacecraft to the ISS. It read: "NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew".

It was the latest in a recent series of failures for the Russian space program, which is also used by the U.S.to carry its astronauts to the station.

A U.S. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut are alive after a failure during a mission to the International Space Station.

Video footage from the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome shows a large plume of smoke coming from the rocket at the moment it failed and footage from inside the capsule shows the two astronauts being violently shaken about.

Russian Federation has said it will suspend all its manned flights to the International Space Station until the cause of the accident has been investigated.

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In 2008, Expedition 16 crew experienced a similar steep ballistic descent on return from the ISS as did cosmonauts returning from the Salyut space station in 1979. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA.

Thursday's incident is thought to be the first launch mishap for a Russian Soyuz booster since a Soyuz mission was aborted in 1983.

An American astronaut and his Russian counterpart survived an emergency landing after their rocket failed midair during launch and careened back to Earth in the skies above Kazakhstan yesterday morning. But the incident highlights recent tensions that have surfaced in a long-running collaboration in space between the United States and Russian Federation.

Russian officials are investigating what caused the booster to fail.

The emergency occurred as the first and second stages of a booster rocket separated shortly after launch from Kazakhstan's Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur. The capsule's parachutes deployed and they landed in central Kazakhstan safely, where rescue teams recovered them. With Thursday's failed launch, just three people remain on the station, an American astronaut, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, the German Commander Alexander Gerst, and Russian Sergey Prokopyev.

In August, the space station crew found a hole had been drilled in the Soyuz capsule that caused a brief loss of air pressure before being patched.

Dmitry Rogozin, a firebrand nationalist politician who this year was appointed by President Vladimir Putin to head Roscosmos, said on Twitter he had ordered a state commission to probe the accident.

Other reports by GizPress

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