Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Soyuz rocket crew rescued after emergency landing

Soyuz rocket crew rescued after emergency landing

A Soyuz rocket carrying a NASA astronaut and Russian cosmonaut made an emergency landing Thursday back on Earth after an issue with a booster, NASA said. It was the first such incident in Russia's post-Soviet history - an unprecedented setback for the country's space industry.

A view shows the Soyuz capsule transporting USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, after it made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

Roscosmos said on Thursday that it would suspended all manned flights to the space station pending the investigation, and Krikalyov said on Friday that the orbiting outpost could be switched into an unmanned mode if the investigation takes a while.

A booster rocket failed less than two minutes after launching an American and a Russian toward the International Space Station on Thursday, forcing their emergency - but safe - landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Doomed: The rocket booster with space ship blasts offabout. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

"We have a lot of things planned through the rest of the fall and the winter, and that's all just being reassessed right now", Sam Scimemi, NASA's director for International Space Station, told Reuters. It had taken off, as usual, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the country's south.

The incident was a huge embarrassment for Moscow, which has recently touted plans to send cosmonauts to the Moon and Mars. Its cause still hasn't been determined. Recovery crews were able to contact the astronauts shortly after landing and reported that they were in "good condition", according to a tweet from NASA at 5:26 a.m. ET.

"The guys will fly for sure", Rogozin said on Twitter, posting a picture of himself with smiling Ovchinin and Hague. That unusual trajectory causes the capsule to decelerate rapidly as a result of increased friction with the atmosphere - but rapid deceleration means the crew is subjected to unusually strong G-forces.

Relations between the USA and Russian Federation have been very tense in recent years.

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This is the first time a Soyuz craft has failed.

"The breakup of the Soyuz", Kommersant broadsheet said in a frontpage headline.

A Russian "state commission" has been formed to investigate the rocket failure.

There was no immediate word on whether the space station crew might need to extend its own six-month mission.

Oleg Orlov, the head of the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems, Russia's top space medicine research center, said in televised remarks that the astronauts endured six Gs during the sharp ballistic descent.

In May, Putin tapped Rogozin to manage the space agency in a move that analysts said spelled trouble for the sector.

All things considered, the Soyuz has proven itself reliable historically and its launch escape system - at various stages of flight - has proven effective three times now.

September 27, 1983: A Soyuz rocket that was to carry Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov to a Salyut space station caught fire in the final seconds of the countdown at Baikonur.

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