Rocket Headed for International Space Station Aborts After Launcher Failure

Mindy Sparks
October 12, 2018

Booster rockets carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and a USA astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing, Russian news agencies reported.

A search-and-rescue team has reached the landing site, both crewmembers are in good condition and have left the Soyuz capsule as of 6:10 a.m. EDT, NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said during live television commentary.

The occupants of the capsule located at the tip of the rocket were scheduled to undertake a six-hour journey to the International Space Station (ISS), where they would meet Expedition 57 crewmates Alexander Gerst, Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, and Sergey Valerievich. Search and rescue teams were sent to recover the crew.

A U.S. and Russian astronaut were forced to make an emergency landing shortly after the mission got underway, with their Soyuz MS-10 suffered significant engine failures.

"The Soyuz capsule is returning to Earth via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal", NASA said in a brief statement via Twitter. The space agency recently announced the nine astronauts that will crew the test flights and first missions of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that the Soyuz capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster when it failed 123 seconds after the launch from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It's been an interesting couple of months for Russia's space program.

The U.S. and other nations have depended on Russian Federation to carry astronauts to the ISS since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

This is the moment that astronauts Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague were reunited with their families at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, after a flight back from their emergency landing zone. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", says NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who was in Kazakhstan for the rocket launch.

Moscow immediately suspended all manned space launches, the RIA news agency reported, while Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said he had ordered a state commission to be set up to investigate what had gone wrong.

Both of the astronauts feel "good, as well as possible after experiencing such g-forces". A cloud of sand billowed up as the capsule landed after what NASA called a 34-minute steep ballistic descent.

Gerst took the opportunity to point out that the Soyuz spacecraft is "an wonderful vehicle", as it was able to save the crew after its booster failure.

Until the investigations are completed, there will be no official information about what caused the rocket's failure to carry the crew to orbit. "The ISS crew members now in-orbit have been notified of the launch contingency".

Thursday's aborted mission is another setback for Russia's space program. The hole cause a small oxygen leak while hooked up to the ISS.

Soyuz MS-11, which would have brought up three new crew members to relieve those already on the Station, was scheduled for liftoff on December 20th. Then, a rocket malfunctioned shortly before launch, and the crew vehicle was ejected to safety.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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