Soyuz Rocket Malfunctions, Emergency Rescue Under Way


The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 Baikonur) carrying American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.

A view shows the Soyuz capsule transporting US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, after it made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

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. The Soyuz capsule has landed back on Earth carrying two crew members. A cloud of sand billowed up as the capsule came down on the desert steppe. "We are thrilled that, even though it was a launch failure, all of the safety systems worked".

For the crew in the capsule, events would have happened very quickly, NASA's deputy chief astronaut Reid Wiseman told reporters at Johnson Space Centre in Houston.

Gerst tweeted his relief that the two astronauts were safe, saying the day's events "showed again what an wonderful vehicle the Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure". Ovchinin, the Russian cosmonaut, can be heard saying, "That was a quick flight".

But soon after the landing, US and Russian officials said that rescue forces were in contact with the astronaut and cosmonaut.

"Thank God the crew is alive", said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

NASA has confirmed that Roscosmos has already created a commission to investigate the cause of the anomaly, although it doesn't expect its counterpart to hold a press conference today.

The malfunction could cause a headache for NASA.

Todd did say that commercial activity related to the space station would require having a human crew on board, however.

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Russian space agency Roscomos will reportedly perform an inspection of the Progress Rocket Space Centre, where manufacturing of the Soyuz rocket took place.

Russian officials said crewed space launches have been suspended pending an investigation into the malfunction. There was an issue with the booster from today's launch.

Soyuz is able to affect the g-force, experienced by the crew, and halt a mission at any moment, according to Battiston.

Russian investigators said they were launching a criminal probe into the accident, the first such incident on a manned flight in the country's post-Soviet history.

That would, in theory, push the time limit of crew's return to Earth to early January 2019, which is the sole limiting factor, said Dr John Logsdon, head of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University.

"Rescue services have been working since the first second of the accident", Rogozin wrote on Twitter. "The crew has been saved".

It's been an interesting couple of months for Russia's space program. Rogozin has said it could have been sabotage.

Roscosmos's online stream of the launch cut out shortly after lift-off.

"We don't have an opportunity to extend it for a long time", Krikalyov said.

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster which carries the Soyuz MS-10 capsule is pictured on its way to the International Space Station.