American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin survived a harrowing emergency landing, following the failure of the Soyuz rocket booster carrying them to space, but what does this mean for the International Space Station?
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that the Soyuz capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster when it failed 123 seconds after the launch from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
A source in the Russian space agency said that rescue workers had reached the crew.
There are now three crew members aboard the ISS: NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev. Roscosmos, the Russian firm that operates the nation's space agency and is responsible for Soyuz launches, will not hold any news conferences today.
A US astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut on Friday arrived in the Moscow region following a failed launch to the International Space Station that forced an emergency landing.
It's the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013. Ovchinin and Hague were both traveling to the ISS to join the three astronauts now aboard - Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor, and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev.
"Teams have been in contact with the crew".
This was the 139th launch of the Soyuz program and the first abort during ascent since 1975 when a failure in second-stage separation triggered emergency reentry 21 minutes after launch. If they wait too long after that, they will be stranded with no way to get back to Earth.
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In August, the crew found a hole in a Russian Soyuz capsule docked to the orbiting space station.
The failure is a setback for the Russian space programme.
In public comments about the launch and rescue operations, he said he saw NASA staff come together to support Hague's family after the launch failure.
All manned launches have been suspended and a criminal probe has been launched.
It was the first such accident for Russia's manned program in over three decades, although there also have been launch failures in recent years involving unmanned vehicles.
"To keep space separate from the political environment has been our tradition and we want to keep that", said Bridenstine. Unmanned cargo launches carry food and other supplies to the ISS and use the same rocket system as the Soyuz.
"Even when a failure occurs, because of the engineering and the design and the great work done by folks in Russian Federation, the crew can be safe", he said. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted. Amid the still unresolved controversy over the mysterious hole in the space station, Roskosmos chief Rogozin has suggested that Moscow may not renew it. "We are planning their flight for the spring of next year".
Doomed: The rocket booster with space ship blasts offabout. -Russian cooperation continuing despite geopolitical tensions.