Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Astronaut, Cosmonaut 'In Good Condition' After Emergency Landing

Astronaut, Cosmonaut 'In Good Condition' After Emergency Landing

The two astronauts-US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin-were reported to say they felt "weightlessness" as the crew capsule detached.

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

He watched Thurday's 2-man Soyuz rocket launch to the International Space Station with all of the optimism and anticipation of the countless other successful missions.

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully", said NASA, in a statement released early Thursday.

Footage then cuts from the crew to an animation, while the rocket returns to Earth in a ballistic descent mode.

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Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: "Thank God the cosmonauts are alive". 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.

Since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, the USA has been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, to get astronauts to the Space Station.

And with the news the crew - Alexey Ovchinin, a Russian cosmonaut, and Nick Hague an American astronaut - are in good health according to officials, attention has somewhat inevitably turned to the more humorous side of the misfire.

Kenny Todd, a space station manager, said the space station's current crew could only stay on board until January - just a month beyond their expected mid-December return.

Safety history: This is the first major issue with a Russian Soyuz booster since a mission was aborted on-pad in August 1983, when a capsule pulled away from an exploding booster.

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The hole was detected in August and quickly sealed up, but Russian newspapers said Roscosmos was probing the possibility that United States crewmates had sabotaged the space station to get a sick colleague sent back home. But Peggy Whitson, a retired NASA astronaut who survived a ballistic re-entry in a Soyuz capsule in 2008, described the experience as a harrowing one in an interview with The Houston Chronicle later that year.

Soyuz flights are suspended while the Russian space agency Roscosmos investigates the cause of the failure.

Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws at the plant in Voronezh. Roscosmos sent more than 70 rocket engines back to production lines to replace faulty components, a move that resulted in a yearlong break in Proton launches and badly dented Russia's niche in the global market for commercial satellite launches.

NASA said the incident was the first time a crew has failed to reach orbit after liftoff.

"What "ballistic" means is basically an unguided, uncontrolled free fall", said Scott Kelly, a former NASA astronaut who made four trips to space, including two aboard the Soyuz.

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However, in the meantime, this failure has a number of consequences for the agencies and the crew aboard the space station.

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