A Soyuz rocket on the way to the International Space Station carrying two astronauts made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan.
The rocket took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan earlier today. It was scheduled to dock at the orbiting outpost within six hours, but the booster suffered a failure mere minutes after the launch.
According to sources from the Cosmodrome, “The boosters on a second stage launching vehicle switched off.”
The crew is returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode. Teams are working to obtain additional information from our Russian partners. Watch live updates: https://t.co/mzKW5uDsTi pic.twitter.com/kWigYS1gU4
— NASA (@NASA) October 11, 2018
The rocket was carrying Russain astronaut Alexey Ovchini and Nick Hague of NASA. The two are alive and performed the emergency landing. The duo landed on Earth 20 kilometers outside of Jezkazgan , Kazakhstan less than an hour after the launch. The rocket normally carries three people, but the third space was used instead for cargo to be taken to the space station.
NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said, “Confirming again that the today’s Soyuz MS10 launch did go into a ballistic re-entry mode a little bit after its launch around 3:47 a.m Central Time (4:47 a.m. EDT/0847 GMT). That means the crew will not be going to the International Space Station today. Instead they’ll be taking a sharp landing, coming back to Earth.”
She added, “Search and rescue crews are always pre-staged in the event something like this does happen.”
They have already been dispatched to look for the capsule.
Ovchini and Hague were scheduled to join the three person Expedition 57 crew that are already aboard the International Space Station, and spend six months on board. The group comprising of Alexander Gerst, Sergey Prkopyev and Serena Aunon-Chancellor have had the ISS to themselves since Octover 4 when the previous Soyuz crew returned to Earth.
This was the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA’s team in 2013. Orvichin spent six months on the station in 2016. Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, a back up crew member, was part of the crew set for the next scheduled Russian-Soyuz launch in December.
Before the Soyuz rocket’s failure, Ovchinin said:
“It’s an interesting job, very interesting experiments and very interesting people. We have people from different countries living together, communicating, performing their duties, their mission. Besides, it’s really enticing to have (an office), so to speak, with this outstanding view out onto planet Earth! This is something I’m really looking forward to going back to.”
All Russian manned space launches are suspended following the Soyuz rocket incident.