Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Rocket Launch Failure Forces Astronaut And Cosmonaut To Make 'Ballistic Landing'

Rocket Launch Failure Forces Astronaut And Cosmonaut To Make 'Ballistic Landing'

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are in what NASA director Jim Bridenstine described as "good condition" after surviving an emergency landing after a booster failure on a Russian Soyuz rocket Thursday.

US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, according to the USA space agency NASA and Russia's space agency Roscosmos.

Search and rescue crews were sent to the site of the emergency landing.

Because the Soyuz spacecraft did not reach orbit at the point of this booster failure, the crew was forced to make a rapid ballistic descent likely under high g-forces.

The launch failure marks an unprecedented mishap for the Russian space program, which has been dogged by a string of other incidents.

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

The launch took place one week after three members of the ISS crew returned to Earth.

A support crew rushed to help the astronauts aboard the capsule that crashed in Kazakhstan. The crew were in contact with rescue forces prior to touching down and have since been extracted from the capsule. NASA says it selected him as an astronaut in 2013; he completed training in 2015 and had been scheduled to perform at least two spacewalks as part of his mission on the space station.

The former military pilots were meant to join Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Roscosmos's Sergey Prokopyev on the ISS after a six-hour flight.

The Soyuz capsule carrying the two men then separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made what NASA called a steep ballistic descent to Earth with parachutes helping slow its speed. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, and spacecraft returning from the space station normally land in that area.

If the Soyuz rocket remains grounded until it's time for the astronauts to come home, flight controllers could operate the orbiting lab without anyone on board, Todd said.

Rockets use boosters to provide the thrust they need to launch from Earth and breech the atmosphere.

A tweet from Roscosmos shows the two astronauts resting comfortably, and looking like they're in good spirits, despite what must have been a hard experience.

"Astronaut Nick Hague of NASA and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched at 4:40 a.m".

The Roscosmos Space Agency says it is forming a state commission to investigate the aborted launch.

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying a new U.S.

"A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", Bridenstine said, saying the safety of the crew was the utmost priority for NASA.

He said all manned launches will be suspended pending an investigation into the cause of the failure.

The taxi service to the orbiting International Space Station is taking no passengers until further notice.

The rocket, Russia's Soyuz system, is one of several flavors of the same basic rocket the country has been launching since the late 1960s, for crewed and uncrewed missions alike. The agency said the rescue crews were preparing to return them to Moscow, and Roscosmos released still images of the two crew members receiving medical evaluation in Kazakhstan.

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