Science

Astronauts cheat death as rocket fails in mid-flight

Astronauts cheat death as rocket fails in mid-flight

A US-Russia mission to the International Space Station hit a snag on Thursday when a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin malfunctioned during its ascent and the two-person crew made an emergency landing.

Their arms and legs flail while being shaken around at he moment the failure occurred.

The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

The Russian capsule experienced a booster problem which meant the two-man crew's six-month mission to the International Space Station has had to be delayed. Neither NASA or Roscosmos will be jumping to any conclusions, but Russian Federation has promised a full investigation and is forming a team to look into how and why the rocket failed as it did.

Because the Soyuz spacecraft did not reach orbit at the point of this booster failure, the crew was forced to make a rapid ballistic descent likely under high g-forces.




While the Russian space program has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents in recent years, Thursday's mishap marked the program's first manned launch failure since September 1983, when a Soyuz exploded on the launch pad.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin would be briefed on the incident.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 57/58, is helped by specialists as his space suit is tested at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 11, 2018. The two men returned to earth safely and a picture released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos showed them having their blood pressure taken in a Kazakh city near their landing site. The intention was to have them work as a team of five until December, when the three scientists now aboard would return to Earth. But just a couple of minutes after liftoff, a failure in the rocket's booster triggered a ballistic re-entry for the pair of would-be space travelers. "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.

Russian Soyuz are now the only vehicle used to carry astronauts to the orbiting Space Station, after the USA retired its space shuttle fleet.

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches until it finds out what went wrong and Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate. "The emergency rescue systems of the MS-Soyuz spacecraft worked smoothly". The derivative has been transporting crews to the space station since coming into service in 2001, conducting 55 successful flights in 17 years. The Russian space agency also sent 70 rocket engines back to production lines in 2016 to replace broken parts. He didn't say if he suspected any of the current crew of three Americans, two Russians and a German aboard the station of malfeasance.