Astronauts Escape Soyuz Rocket After Major Malfunction On Way To ISS

  • Astronauts Escape Soyuz Rocket After Major Malfunction On Way To ISS

Astronauts Escape Soyuz Rocket After Major Malfunction On Way To ISS

Russian and American astronauts destined for the International Space Station safely made an emergency landing after an engine malfunction during takeoff on Thursday.

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

For years, since NASA's final shuttle mission launched in 2011, the USA has relied on Russian rockets to send astronauts to the International Space Station, which is largely funded by America taxpayer dollars.

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 was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983 when a fire broke out at the base of the booster rocket while the crew was preparing for lift-off.

Luckily, these crew members will not be stranded on the space station, as they will return to earth in the capsules they traveled to the station in.

Both astronauts were said to be "alive" on Thursday morning, but their exact condition is not known - according to local Russian report. The last one returned to Earth on October 4, carrying NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, after their 197-day mission in space.

Russian Federation has continued to rely on Soviet-designed booster rockets for launching commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the International Space Station.

The International Space Station, a rare point of cooperation between Moscow and Washington, has been orbiting the Earth at roughly 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998 and will mark its 20th birthday in November.

Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident, Dean said.

The five-person crew will gather inside the Zvezda service module for a traditional crew greeting ceremony as family and mission officials on the ground offer their well-wishes. Hague is an Air Force Colonel who completed his astronaut training in 2015. Three Americans, two Russians and one German are now aboard the station.

The flight was carrying NASA's Nick Hague and Russia's Alexey Ovchinin.

The landing location was in Kazakhstan, where the rocket took off, according to Russia's space agency Roscosmos.

"There was an issue with the booster from today's launch", a NASA statement said.

Luckily, rescuers maintained contact and reached the downed men before helicoptering them back to safety.