Astronauts survive emergency landing after booster fails on Russian rocket

Katie Ramirez
October 13, 2018

NASA could be forced to fly the International Space Station remotely if the remaining crew members have to leave before the investigation into what caused a failure onboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is completed.

While there is another Soyuz capsule docked at the station, Hadfield said using it to send the current crew home would not be under consideration.

A Soyuz rocket booster failed during the launch of a capsule carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin Thursday, forcing officials to abort their mission.

Rescue teams near the Soyuz capsule that carried US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin after an emergency landing in central Kazakhstan Oct. 11, 2018. In response, Russian officials have suspended all crewed launches pending a review of the booster rocket failure.

The rocket was transporting Hague and Ovchinin from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six-month stay on the International Space Station.

Earlier NASA warned the Soyuz capsule was returning to Earth "via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal". The capsule landed about 20 kilometres east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Hague and Ovchinin are replacing NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, as well as Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, who departed ISS and returned to Earth last week.

According to Nasa, initial reports are that the crew landed in good condition and got in contact with the space agency.

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The Chief of Roscosmos, Dmitri Rogozin, said in a tweeted statement that "a state commission" had been formed to investigate the cause of the malfunction.

It comes weeks after a hole was discovered in the International Space Station amid talk from the Russian space authorities of deliberate sabotage.

Now, American companies SpaceX and Boeing are working to launch their first crewed missions to space.

"The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is the only vehicle which is now able to send astronauts to space and bring them home form the International Space Station and it has been doing this for decades". According to NASA TV footage of the launch, Russian flight controllers first announced a booster failure about 165 seconds into flight. The spacecraft has been the sole means of bringing humans to the space station since the end of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, but commercial providers aiming for manned spaceflight are increasingly nipping at Russia's heels.

Gerst tweeted his relief that the two astronauts were safe, saying the day's events "showed again what an incredible vehicle the Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure". From the optimistic vantage point of the past, we were supposed to have space stations on the Moon and Mars by now.

Something went wrong during the separation between the first and second stages of the booster. An investigation is underway, and Bridenstine said he doesn't expect the next mission taking a crew to the space station in December to be delayed. -Russian cooperation in space.

In this photo made available by Roscosmos on Friday, Oct. 12.

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