Crew Rescued After Russian ISS Launch Fails

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A view shows the Soyuz capsule transporting USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, after it made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

Reuters Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin (R) and US astronaut Nick Hague (L) disembark from a plane, after the Soyuz spacecraft made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, as they arrive at Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan, Oct. 11, 2018.

Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the landing location and collected the astronauts who made it safely back.

Those precious few minutes of elation in Peabody quickly turned into an agonizing wait, as NASA confirmed there had been a booster problem with the rocket and the crew had to make an emergency exit.

It was the latest in a recent series of failures for the Russian space program, which is also used by the U.S.to carry its astronauts to the station.

The descent was sharper than usual, meaning the crew was subjected to a greater G-force, but they were prepared for this scenario in training, according to a commentator on NASA's video livestream of the launch. Spacewalks take extensive, long-term planning, so the crew and their teams back on Earth will have to come up with an alternative plan. The mission would have been Hague's first space flight.

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Flight controllers kept the three space station residents abreast of the situation after Thursday's aborted launch.

American Nick Hague and Russian Aleksey Ovchinin were forced to return to Earth and landed in Kazakhstan when the booster stopped working during stage-one separation on their Soyuz rocket at approximately 50km (164,000ft) above the Earth.

The American space agency said on Twitter that the crew were in good condition, after the capsule landed safely in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster which carries the Soyuz MS-10 capsule is pictured on its way to the International Space Station.

It said there was an issue with "the booster from today's launch".

Speaking with reporters in Moscow before Thursday's launch, Bridenstine said that Russian-American cooperation in space remained strong, amid an investigation into the cause of the leak. Ovchinin spent six months on the orbiting outpost in 2016.

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Russian space agency Roscosmos has released photographs of both astronauts being checked over after their abrupt landing.

The launch failure follows close on the heels of another Soyuz issue, in which a hole was discovered August 29 on the MS-09 spacecraft that delivered the most recent crew to the space station.

Members of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 57/58, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin board the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft prior to the launch in Kazakhstan on October 11, 2018. NASA's own transportation system, the commercial crew vehicles under development by SpaceX and Boeing, have yet to take uncrewed test flights to the station, and those are unlikely to occur before early 2019.

NASA and Roscosmos officials say they are launching an investigation into exactly what went wrong with the rocket and why. During the live broadcast of the launch, narration from Mission Control suggested that the booster failed to separate from the Soyuz capsule.

Russian Federation immediately suspended all manned space launches and set up a state commission to investigate what had gone wrong.

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