On Thursday night Australian time, a Soyuz-FG booster rocket with a crewed Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft on top experienced a serious malfunction about three minutes into the flight, forcing U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to make an emergency landing in the Kazakh steppe.
Russian Federation has continued to rely on Soviet-designed booster rockets for launching commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the International Space Station.
The two astronauts-US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin-were reported to say they felt "weightlessness" as the crew capsule detached.
The launch failure marks an unprecedented mishap for the Russian space program, which has been dogged by a string of other incidents.
Soyuz is one of the oldest rocket designs but also one of the safest.
United States astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin were heading to the International Space Station when they had to make an emergency landing due to failure of the booster rockets. But soon after the landing, US and Russian officials said that rescue forces were in contact with the astronaut and cosmonaut. NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew.
While the two men landed safely, the aborted mission dealt another blow to the troubled Russian space program.
The failed launch earned scathing criticism from the usually pliant Russian media.
"That is a landing mode we've seen before", the commentator said.
Had the launch gone smoothly, Ovchinin and Hague would have reached the space station later today. "Utilization over the last [station] increment was slightly higher than expected", said former astronaut Susan Helms, a member of NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, during a meeting of the independent safety group October 11 at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
An American astronaut and his Russian counterpart survived an emergency landing after their rocket failed midair during launch and careened back to Earth in the skies above Kazakhstan yesterday morning. But the Russian space agency also considered the possibility of sabotage.
"Teams have been in contact with the crew". A small air pressure leak was discovered in the Soyuz section of the International Space Station, the likely result of a manufacturing flaw.
"I fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket", he said, praising the "wonderful relationship" between Nasa and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
The Soyuz spacecraft launched today was to be the return vehicle for Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of ESA and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, who were to return to Earth on December 13.
The officials can not yet identify the chief cause of the Soyuz failure, aside from the fact that components of different stages of the rocket collided with each other.