Astronauts forced to escape malfunctioning Soyuz rocket

Astronauts forced to escape malfunctioning Soyuz rocket

Two astronauts have made an emergency landing after the rocket they were travelling in malfunctioned. As rescue crews arrived, Hague and Ovchinin were reported in "good condition" and found out of the capsule.

It was to be Hague's first flight to the station, launching at 3:40 a.m. Thursday from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.

NASA Television reported that the spacecraft was in a ballistic descent after apparently separating from the Soyuz rocket, making a return to Earth rather than heading to the International Space Station.

According to Nasa, the crew is returned to Earth inside the Soyuz capsule "in a ballistic descent mode".

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

Which means they came back 'at a sharper angle of landing compared to normal'. After about 20 minutes of uncertainty, Russian officials confirmed the crew were OK, and had landed about 20km east of Dzhezkazgan, a city in central Kazakhstan. The current crew of three arrived at the station in June on Soyuz MS-09 and, with the craft only having a six-month orbital lifespan, must return in December or January at the latest. The capsule's launch escape system pulled the crew away from the rocket seconds before the vehicle exploded.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said all manned launches will be suspended pending an investigation into the cause of the failure.

This was the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013.

It comes weeks after a hole was discovered in the International Space Station amid talk from the Russian space authorities of deliberate sabotage.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: "Thank God the cosmonauts are alive". Robotic cargo launches using US -built resupply ships are also scheduled to deliver more supplies to the station in the next two months.

Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident, Dean said.

Their ride aboard the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft was originally scheduled to last 6.5 hours.

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