Rocket Headed for International Space Station Aborts After Launcher Failure

Two astronauts make emergency landing after Russian rocket malfunctions during lift-off

USA astronaut Nick Hague, right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), walk prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

The crew launched at 12:40 (UAE time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that the Soyuz capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster when it failed 123 seconds after the launch from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. According to Space.com, helicopters have been dispactched to look for the capsule. They then started the process of flying back to the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are counting down to their 4:40am ET Thursday launch to the station.

Russian Federation has set up a state commission to investigate the Soyuz booster rocket failure. Roscosmos has earned billions of dollars in fees ferrying astronauts into orbit since NASA retired its fleet of space shuttles in 2011. These vehicles, produced by the Boeing and SpaceX companies, are set to make their debut next year.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine greets astronaut Nick Hague after his emergency landing during a crew launch to the space station.

"Scary, scary, scary - not what we wanted", one family member said. The mission would have been Hague's first space flight. Hague and Ovchinin are out of the capsule and are reported to be in good condition.

"I'm grateful that everyone is safe". NASA too is conducting an investigation of its own. Russian Federation has launched an investigation and suspended all launches of manned spacecraft until the probe is complete.

With the failure of this launch, there are far-reaching consequences for the world's human space programs, and for those astronauts and cosmonauts now on board the International Space Station. Unmanned launches of Soyuz rockets might also be suspended, Interfax said. Hague is an Air Force Colonel who completed his astronaut training in 2015.

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A Canadian astronaut's scheduled trip to the International Space Station is in limbo after the spacecraft he was to use failed and made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan.

While the rocket would normally be carrying three people, the third space was instead used for cargo to be taken up to the space station.

The two had been slated to join three crewmates on the ISS as part of Expedition 57.

Russian Federation is now the only country taking crew to and from the ISS. That leaves NASA dependent on Russian Federation and its Soyuz rockets until then.

NASA rookie Nick Hague and second-time flyer Aleksey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency were setting off for a six-month mission at the International Space Station Thursday, on a relatively rare two-man launch.

They were scheduled to remain up there until mid-December.

Russia's TASS news agency said the capsule carrying the two men separated from the troubled rocket safely. Though it's hard to make out what's going on in the image, it seems that it was taken just moments after the crew capsule detached from the spacecraft and started heading back toward Earth. That would be a huge change for an outpost that has been continuously occupied for about 18 years, but it's something that NASA and its worldwide partners have always been prepared to do, if necessary. With this accident, and the potentially lengthy investigation that will follow, they could remain on the station for significantly longer.

He also notes that critical systems are created to operate automatically or with the help of controllers on the ground. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA.

If the International Space Station is evacuated, it will break the continuous human presence in space we've maintained since the dawn of the 21st century.

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