Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Science | By

Dramatic Footage Shows Moment Inside Soyuz Capsule When Booster Rocket Failed

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster which carries the Soyuz MS-10 capsule is pictured on its way to the International Space Station. The crew had to abort.

-Russian crew of a Soyuz spacecraft en route to the International Space Station was forced to make a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan on Thursday when their rocket failed in mid-air.

"Rescue forces are in communication with Nick Hague and Alexei Ovchinin and we are hearing that they are in good condition", NASA TV said.

Three astronauts are now on board the space station: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.

USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were rescued without injuries in Kazakhstan following the emergency landing earlier Thursday. "Today showed again what an incredible vehicle the Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure". Bridenstine attended the launch at Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome with Rogozin as part of an effort to mend relations between the two space superpowers strained by NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

The duo had lifted off from the Russian-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This failure comes as America is working to wean itself off of its Russian rocket dependency. Last month, an oxygen leak was found in the International Space Station that Russia's space chief said was caused deliberately. Hague and Ovchinin would have joined Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev at the space station. The missions both hope to launch in 2019, though they have each experienced delays thus far.

According to Spaceflight Now, this is the first inflight failure of a Soyuz rocket with people onboard since 1975.

ABC News reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov announced that all manned launches will be suspended until the investigation is complete and the cause of the rocket's failure can be pin-pointed. He added that a "thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted". Roscosmos has earned billions of dollars in fees ferrying astronauts into orbit since NASA retired its fleet of space shuttles in 2011.

But the consequences of the failed launch will ripple through the space station's activities.

"Teams have been in contact with the crew". This is especially tricky, as the new batteries arrived later than expected after a series of launch delays from the Japanese cargo vehicle they were on. NASA tentatively plans to send its first crew to the ISS using a SpaceX craft instead of a Soyuz next April.

"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 station and its crew depend heavily on missions supported by the rocket.

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