Soyuz Space Crew Makes Emergency Landing After Terrifying Booster Failure

CU expert talks about close call in space

NASA and Roscosmos said search-and-rescue teams responded quickly to retrieve the crew members, whose spacecraft parachuted to Earth in an emergency landing in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the crew of astronaut Nick Hague of the United States and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russian Federation blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

The problem occurred when a booster rocket on the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle failed in some way, NASA said.

Footage showed the pair shaking around in the capsule, enduring gravitational forces of six to seven times more than is felt on Earth as they came down at a sharper-than-normal angle. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur. 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.

"Thank God, the crew is alive", Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, told reporters when it became clear the crew had landed safely. The embarrassing little hole was eventually sealed by the crew - an operation which involved glue and duct tape - but at the expense of aggravating NASA. Luckily, the two astronauts on board - Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague - made it back to Earth safely, narrowly avoiding tragedy. Instead, the two astronauts landed safely a half-hour later, rescued by the capsule's "automated abort systems" that "is created to be effective", said Kenny Todd, the International Space Station manager. This incident will likely delay the scheduled mission of Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who was set to fly to the space station in December. "Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today's launch", the USA agency said.

Hague and Ovchinin were to join the current three-person crew on the International Space Station to perform research experiments.

He said: "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted". He said Russian Federation will share all relevant information with the U.S.

The two crewmen arrived in Moscow Friday to undergo a routine medical exam. Officials from Russia's space agency - Roscosmos - explained this is just a matter of procedure and said both men are absolutely healthy after the ordeal. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

In a series of photos, Mr Gerst captured the moment a Russian Soyuz rocket malfunctioned at the start of what should have been a routine six-hour flight to deliver two astronauts to the ISS. The Russian space agency also sent 70 rocket engines back to production lines in 2016 to replace broken parts.

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