Astronauts safe after failed rocket launch, emergency bail-out

Katie Ramirez
October 12, 2018

Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague had blasted off on a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

With the failure of this launch, there are far-reaching consequences for the world's human space programs, and for those astronauts and cosmonauts now on board the International Space Station.

A Russian Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft experienced an "anomaly" during liftoff today while carrying two passengers en route to the International Space Station (ISS).

The rescue capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster and went into a ballistic descent, landing at a sharper than normal angle and subjecting the crew to heavy gravitational force.

The two astronauts-US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin-were reported to say they felt "weightlessness" as the crew capsule detached. Dzhezkazgan is about 280 miles northeast of Baikonur.

Search and rescue crews are heading to the landing site.

In August, the International Space Station crew spotted a hole in a Russian Soyuz capsule docked to the orbiting outpost that caused a brief loss of air pressure before being patched.

Hague and Ovchinin, the crew of Expedition 57, had planned to complete a four-orbit, 6-hr. journey to the ISS.

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Additionally, the Soyuz rocket launches cargo ships to the space station along with crewed missions like the one this morning.

International groups of astronauts often accompany each other to the International Space Station in joint launches. The space station and its crew depend heavily on missions supported by the rocket.

Unfortunately, Hague and Ovchinin never made it that far.

However, in the meantime, this failure has a number of consequences for the agencies and the crew aboard the space station.

"That relationship is strong, and whatever happens terrestrially, we've always been able to keep space exploration and discovery and science separate from whatever terrestrial disputes there may be", he said. The Soyuz capsule has landed back on Earth carrying two crew members. Just over a minute after the launch, the spacecraft's booster failed and the launch was aborted. The space agency recently announced the nine astronauts that will crew the test flights and first missions of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

Popular Mechanics reports that Thursday's launch is the fourth time that a ballistic re-entry has occurred in the Soyuz program.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, tweeted shortly after the incident that a commission of inquiry had already begun work on figuring out the cause, by studying telemetry data from the craft. Neither NASA or Roscosmos will be jumping to any conclusions, but Russian Federation has promised a full investigation and is forming a team to look into how and why the rocket failed as it did.

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