US and Russian space officials said NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin were safe after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure early Thursday of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station.
The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying astronaut Nick Hague of the USA and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russian Federation blasted off from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday - before the mission was aborted.
It is also possible that this event could affect the next scheduled crew launch of three astronauts in December who were set to replace NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and Gerst.
NASA said rescuers reached the crew of astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin after they landed in Kazakhstan, and both were in good condition. At that point only gravity was in control, and rescue teams in helicopters raced to where they thought the capsule would land.
The abort mode was not improvised, and is a standing contingency for crewed missions to the ISS.
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. "The emergency rescue systems of the MS-Soyuz spacecraft worked smoothly".
This is the first time a Soyuz craft has failed.
Only to be disappointed in the failure of the rocket, but thankful in the safe aftermath.
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"The crew has landed". Asked about the mishap, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he was "not worried" that American astronauts have to rely on Russian Federation to get into space.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said all manned launches will be suspended pending an investigation into the cause of the failure.
Live video of the astronauts showed them shaking violently with the vibrations caused by the malfunction. The launch was proceeding normally until the first mention of booster failure at about the 3:30 mark.
In a bar in the small town of Peabody, Kan., in the middle of the night, astronaut Nick Hague's family huddled around television screens.
Most recently, a mysterious hole was detected on the Russian section of the ISS in August, and a Soyuz launch failure destroyed 18 satellites in November 2017.
The onboard astronauts were certainly aware that something was not right because they reported feeling weightless when they should have felt pushed back in their seats. Adding to the embarrassment was a string of tweets by Roscosmos detailing the successful completion of three launch stages that never happened.
The Russian Soyuz MS-09 crew craft and the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter attached to the International Space Station.
Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws.