NASA astronaut Hague notes his Russian partner's experience US 10:02

Cristina Cross
October 20, 2018

Hague said he and Ovchinin, his commander, were flung from side to side and shoved back hard into their seats, as the drama unfolded 50 kilometres (31 miles) above Kazakhstan last Thursday.

Russian Federation has temporarily suspended all manned space launches after two astronauts made a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan on Thursday due to the failure of the Soyuz rocket carrying them to the orbital ISS. Hague, making his first launch, saw the curvature of Earth and the blackness of space.

"I'm not concerned with the Soyuz", Hague said, adding that he had "complete confidence" in the ability of Roscosmos to keep the spacecraft running.

In footage of the flight released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos Ovchinin can be heard calmly telling mission control that there has been an "accident" and even quipping about a particularly "short flight" before the feed is cut off.

"I just remember it being this very poignant realization that 'Wow, we just had a failure of the booster!'" Hague said. "And, luckily for us, it was smooth, flat terrain and it ended up as a pretty smooth landing".

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The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the crew of astronaut Nick Hague of the US and cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin of Russian Federation blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

"They are constantly trying to build a flawless spacecraft, but it can't be ideal all the time, so we have contingencies in place and we have other fail-safe systems", he said. He holds out a hand.

Hague, 43, said he's dealt with in-flight emergencies during his Air Force career, but nothing like this. Instead, the pair's emergency rescue system kicked into action after a problem during booster separation.

His emotions bubbled up once he was reunited with his wife, their two young sons and his parents, back at the launch site.

Then, it was time to come back down, and that's where the going got rough for a bit. He says he'd rather be in orbit, getting ready for a spacewalk, but is grateful to be alive. Immediately afterward, an investigation into the incident was launched in Russian Federation. The space station, meanwhile, is managing for now with a crew of three. "But life doesn't always give you a vote".

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