Astronauts make emergency landing after Soyuz rocket failure

CU expert talks about close call in space

In 2008, a Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson made an unplanned ballistic re-entry on its return to Earth from the International Space Station. The crew are in good condition and in contact.

Two Russian and American astronauts had a lucky escape Thursday after the Russian Soyuz rocket that was meant to take them to the International Space Station suffered a malfunction after lift-off, sending their crew capsule hurtling back to earth.

International Space Station (ISS) crew members astronaut Nick Hague of the US and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russian Federation board the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

Hague and Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2.40pm local time from the Baikonur cosmodrome on a Soyuz booster rocket.

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.

US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin parachuted to the ground safely in their capsule after a booster on the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft failed, NASA and Russia's space agency said.

The rescue capsule landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan Thursday.

The astronauts were flown by helicopter to Dzhezkazgan and then by plane to Baikonur. Spacecraft returning from the ISS normally land in that region.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters the most important thing was that the men were alive.

The mission was supposed to be Hague's first trip into space, and Ovchinin's second six-month stay at the station.

The three astronauts now on board the space station have been informed of the failed launch and their schedule for the day is being reshuffled, since they'll no longer be able to greet the incoming duo.

Hague, who only joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013, was on his first space mission.

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches until it finds out what went wrong and Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate. Paratroopers parachuted to the rescue site, TASS news agency reported.

Russia, which relies on boosters designed during the Soviet Union, has a reputation for reliability with spacecraft.

This type of Soyuz rocket has been flying people to space since 2001, and until now, it has never failed, according to Space News.

In August, however, the detection of a minute pressure leak on the International Space Station became the subject of intense media speculation in Russian Federation. He didn't say if he suspected any of the current crew of three Americans, two Russians and a German aboard the station. The hole cause a small oxygen leak while hooked up to the ISS.

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