Astronauts safe after failed rocket launch, emergency bail-out

Russian Soyuz rocket suffers failure on launch, set to return back to Earth

USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without harm and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, NASA, the US space agency, and Russia's Roscosmos said.

NASA has been dependent on Russia's crewed Soyuz spacecraft and rockets to fly astronuats to and from the space station since the agency retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011.

The rescue capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster before going into descent, landing at a sharper than normal angle and subjecting the crew to heavy gravitational force.

The failure is the latest mishap for the Russian space programme, which has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents.

NASA said that the crew was safe and was making an emergency landing in Kazakhstan where the unsuccessful launch took place.

The Russian Soyuz rocket has malfunctioned on lift-off has landed safely in Kazahstan, Russian media report.

They were to dock at the International Space Station six hours later, but the booster suffered engine failure minutes after the launch.

-Russian crew to the International Space Station failed during its ascent Thursday (Oct. 11), sending its crew capsule falling back toward Earth in a ballistic re-entry, NASA officials said.

Booster rockets carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and a USA astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing, Russian news agencies reported.

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An Antonov-12 transport plane was dispatched to drop a rescue team at the site, where helicopters were expected to pick up the astronauts, Interfax said. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur. Spacecraft returning from the ISS normally land in that region.

"A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", he said, saying the safety of the crew was the utmost priority for NASA. Robotic cargo launches using US -built resupply ships are also scheduled to deliver more supplies to the station in the next two months.

During a trip to Moscow this week, Bridenstine emphasized the importance of continuing to work with Russia's NASA equivalent, Roscosmos.

Russian Soyuz are now the only vehicle used to carry astronauts to the orbiting Space Station, after the US retired its space shuttle fleet. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of the SpaceX's Dragon v2 and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

But the consequences of the failed launch will ripple through the space station's activities.

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.

"An investigative group has been formed and officials are now examining the launch site, documents are being seized", the Investigative Committee said in a statement. Officials are also investigating the unusual hole recently found in a Soyuz spacecraft aboard the International Space Station.

Typical crewed launches feature three passengers.

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