Dramatic Footage Shows Moment Inside Soyuz Capsule When Booster Rocket Failed

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

Unnamed Russian space industry sources cited by news agencies said it would be hard to establish what had caused the incident because the booster rocket segments involved had been badly damaged in their fall.

The launch failure marks an unprecedented mishap for the Russian space program, which has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents. American Nick Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin were uninjured, Russian government officials said.

"An accident with the booster, two minutes, 45 seconds", the voice of Ovchinin could be heard saying calmly in live-streamed footage of the launch from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome. In 2015, CRS-7 launched a Dragon capsule on a Falcon 9 rocket to resupply the space station, but the second stage exploded. "Search and rescue teams are en route to the landing location and we await further updates", said NASA in a statement.

NASA's deputy chief astronaut, Reid Wiseman, said the crew "handled their procedures exactly as planned" and are "in great shape". "As you can see, everything is calm on board; we are living in peace and friendship as always", he said.

"That was a short flight". The escape tower then angled the capsule off to the side, ejected, and the capsule opened parachutes for landing.

Search and rescue teams were deployed to the landing site. The spacecraft has been the sole means of bringing humans to the space station since the end of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, but commercial providers aiming for manned spaceflight are increasingly nipping at Russia's heels. "Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today's launch", the U.S. agency said. In 1975, a manned Soyuz failed to separate between stages during an ascent and triggered the abort system.

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Russia's Investigative Committee said a criminal probe would seek to determine whether safety regulations had been violated during construction, causing major damage.

"Officials are now examining the launch site, documents are being seized", it said in a statement.

"Thank god, the cosmonauts are alive", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Two astronauts have made an emergency landing after the rocket they were travelling in malfunctioned. Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad, surviving the heavy G-loads without injuries.

Family members wore custom-made "Team Hague" jackets, with patches sewn on representing NASA, the International Space Station, and the official mission that took place Thursday.

But of course that depends on whether the Soyuz are reauthorized for launch.

Oleg Orlov, the head of the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems, Russia's top space medicine research center, said in televised remarks that the astronauts endured six Gs during the sharp ballistic descent.

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