Science

Russian, US astronauts survive rocket failure in space station launch

Russian, US astronauts survive rocket failure in space station launch”

Two astronauts had to make an emergency landing Thursday after the rocket that was supposed to carry them to the International Space Station puttered out mid-flight.

USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are counting down to their 4:40am ET Thursday launch to the station.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 57/58, is helped by specialists as his space suit is tested at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 11, 2018.

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.

In statements by both Russian Federation and NASA the crew is said to be in "good condition", and no serious injuries have been reported.

The ballistic descent is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal, NASA said.

The pair were said to be in good condition after landing in Kazakhstan.

Russian Federation immediately suspended all manned space launches, the RIA news agency reported, and Roscomosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said he had ordered a state commission to be set up to investigate what had gone wrong.

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.

David Saint-Jacques is scheduled to co-pilot the capsule December 20 and become the first Canadian at the orbiter since now-retired astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth in 2013.

The failure is a setback for the Russian space programme and the latest in a string of mishaps.

The US now only has access to the space station via Russia's Soyuz rocket, which is normally dependable. "I strongly believe we're going to get the right answer to what caused the hole on the International Space Station and that together we'll be able to continue our strong collaboration", Bridenstine said, as reported by the Associated Press.

The Soyuz MS-10 rocket had four boosters strapped to its central core.

"The crew is alive and is landing in Kazakhstan", a source told the Russian news agency Interfax.

Today's flight is the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013. Hague and Ovchinin were set to be just the second two-man crew to travel to the space station in recent years.

If Soyuz launches are suspended for an extended period, one of the potential options would be to let the current crew return as planned and leave the station temporarily uncrewed.



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