NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonaut make emergency landing on earth

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 12, 2018

On Thursday in Kazakhstan, at 4:40am US Eastern time, a Soyuz rocket took off carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin toward the International Space Station.

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the crew of astronaut Nick Hague of the US 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 capsule made a "ballistic landing" and rescue teams recovered the pair, who are reportedly in "good condition", NASA says.

The booster suffered a failure minutes after launch.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: "Thank God the cosmonauts are alive".

He rejected suggestions it could harm U.S. relations, saying they recognised it was a "hi-tech industry linked to risk", but he added: "We certainly won't hide the reasons, it is uncommon for such situations".

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.

A United States astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut are alive after a failure during a mission to the International Space Station. They were met by rescue teams in remote Kazakhstan more than 200 miles from their launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur.

Luckily, these crew members will not be stranded on the space station, as they will return to earth in the capsules they traveled to the station in. This would allow them to remain aboard the Station for another six months, hopefully enough time to complete the accident investigation and resume normal launches. That mission will now be postponed until early next year, space officials said.

They would have joined Commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev, who arrived at the ISS in June.

International groups of astronauts often accompany each other to the International Space Station in joint launches. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon v2 and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

In recent years, Russia's space programme has faced a number of technical failures - 13 since 2010. Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad, surviving the heavy G-loads without injuries.

Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws at the plant in Voronezh.

"Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft", the U.S. space agency said in a statement.

The International Space Station - a rare point of cooperation between Moscow and Washington - has been orbiting the Earth since 1998.

It can hold a crew of up to six people and at present has three people aboard, two men - a German and a Russian - as well as one female US astronaut.

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