Soyuz makes emergency landing after engine problem

Cristina Cross
October 12, 2018

"Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members".

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who watched the launch at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome along with his Russian counterpart, tweeted that Hague and Ovchinin are in good condition.

American Nick Hague and Russian Aleksey Ovchinin were en route to the ISS when the secondary booster rocket on the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft they were in malfunctioned, forcing the two to abort the mission and parachute in a vessel back to the ground.

Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and United States astronaut Nick Hague sped back to Earth when the Soyuz rocket failed shortly after launching from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

"Today we have seen again how great Soyuz is", Gerst wrote, adding that despite the failure, the crew were able to be safely brought back to earth. "Space travel is hard, but we must keep going, for the benefit of humanity", he added.

Yuri Kochetkov/Pool via REUTERS Backup crew members Roscosmos cosmonaut Оleg Kononenko (R) and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques look at the Soyuz booster rocket with the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft installed on the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Oct. 9, 2018.

Initial information is that the crew of the capsule is not in danger and the Soyuz is in "ballistic descent mode".

USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, Nasa, the U.S. space agency and Russia's Roscosmos said.

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The rescue capsule landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan Thursday. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur. The agency is waiting for both Boeing and SpaceX to deliver home-grown spacecraft so it no longer has to rely on Russian Federation to send supplies and crew to the ISS.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters the most important thing was that the men were alive.

Dmitry Rogozin, a firebrand nationalist politician who this year was appointed by Putin to head Roscosmos, said a "thorough investigation" was needed after the failed launch.

The mission failure is stunning for the Soyuz rocket, which only had two launch failures prior to Thursday - one in 1975 and one in 1983.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is now the only vehicle for ferrying crews to the International Space Station following the retirement of the US space shuttle fleet. However, this could be a problem for the current ISS crew.

Russia's rockets are now the only way to get astronauts to the space station, but all manned flights have been out on hold in the wake of Thursday's accident. Cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov separated the capsule and landed safely near the launchpad. Last month, an oxygen leak was found in the International Space Station that Rogozin said was made deliberately.

In total Soyuz rockets have been launched 745 times of which 21 have failed.

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