Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

US, Russian astronauts reach Russia after emergency landing

US, Russian astronauts reach Russia after emergency landing

According to Nasa, initial reports are that the crew landed in good condition and got in contact with the space agency.

The failure of the booster rocket, just two minutes after the launch and at an altitude of 50 kilometres, activated an emergency rescue system which sent the capsule carrying U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin into a unsafe ballistic descent.

The booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and USA astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.

The rare failed launch of the Soyuz rocket - the workhorse of manned spaceflight today - is the latest and most grave problem to beset U.S.

Reuters Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin (R) and USA astronaut Nick Hague (L) disembark from a plane, after the Soyuz spacecraft made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, as they arrive at Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan, Oct. 11, 2018.

The rescue capsule landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan Thursday. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, and spacecraft returning from the space station normally land in that region.

The next Soyuz launch for the ISS was scheduled for Dec 20, and it is supposed to take a new three-person crew to the Space Station. That's a diplomatic way to say the Russian booster failed, forcing the crew to perform a risky launch abort.

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At this moment, there are no Soyuz spacecraft berthed at the orbiting science station.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques had been scheduled to be on the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft on December 20.

Oleg Orlov, the head of the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems, Russia's top space medicine research center, said in televised remarks that the astronauts endured six Gs during the sharp ballistic descent.

Earlier in 2017, at least nine of a payload of 73 satellites were reported "dead on arrival or severely degraded" after separation from their Soyuz-2.1 launch vehicle. Both men appear understandably disappointed in the wake of what they just experienced, and the realization that they won't be headed to the International Space Station any time soon. Thursday's accident led NASA officials to acknowledge that they and their partners might need to bring everyone home and hope that the station can function safely with no one onboard, relying exclusively on commands from the ground.

A United States astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut are alive after a failure during a mission to the International Space Station. Adding to the embarrassment was a string of tweets by Roscosmos detailing the successful completion of three launch stages that never happened. The harrowing accident went down in history as the world's first manned space launch abort.

Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws. Hague and Ovchinin were set to be just the second two-man crew to travel to the space station in recent years.

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