Crewed spacecraft bound for ISS forced to make emergency ballistic descent

Cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague at the pre-launch ceremony in Kazakhstan

The desert? The mountains?

Rescue teams using off-road vehicles and paratroopers deployed in helicopters raced to locate the capsule, near the Kazakh city of Dzhezkazgan.

Hague and Ovchinin were travelling to the ISS to join three other crewmates for ISS Expedition 57. "Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind", ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted from aboard the space station as he watched and photographed the launch from space. The intention was to have them work as a team of five until December, when the three scientists now aboard would return to Earth.

A terrifying video shows the moment that two crew members fear for their lives as they are jolted up and down in the cockpit.

A view of the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule crash landed on the Kazakh steppe on Thursday.

Hague was originally scheduled to participate in spacewalks in the coming weeks to replace batteries on the outside of the space station. The capsule separated and recovered in a ballistic trajectory that the Russian space agency said exposed the crew to about 6.7 G's.

Three people are now aboard the space station: a German, a Russian and an American.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential vote, but they have maintained cooperation in space research.

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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.

Yuri Kochetkov/Pool via REUTERS Backup crew members Roscosmos cosmonaut Оleg Kononenko (R) and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques look at the Soyuz booster rocket with the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft installed on the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Oct. 9, 2018.

The space station has enough food and supplies for the current crew to last six months, the Interfax news service reported, citing an unidentified person. The mission was aborted shortly after launch, and the pair returned to earth safely in an emergency landing. Ovchinin, the Russian cosmonaut, can be heard saying, "That was a quick flight".

The failure on Thursday puts tremendous pressure on NASA and the two companies - SpaceX and Boeing - it has hired to fly its astronauts to the space station. The missions both hope to launch in 2019, though they have each experienced delays thus far.

Asked about the latest mishap, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he was "not worried" that American astronauts have to rely on Russian Federation to get into space.

"Anytime something goes wrong in space, you feel it", explained Phil Larson.

Thursday's aborted mission is another setback for Russia's space program.

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. The escape systems are tested and ready for exactly this sort of eventuality. Cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launchpad.

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