Rocket failure astronauts will go back into space

13 October, 2018, 20:14 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Lift-off The mission had started well before the rocket malfunctioned

A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday.

A rescue mission was launched immediately, Nasa and the Russian Roscosmos space agency said.

Russia says it is suspending manned space launches pending a probe into a Russian booster rocket failure, raising questions about the fate of an upcoming launch that included a Canadian astronaut.

The crew landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan, but the aborted mission dealt another blow to the troubled Russian space program that now serves as the only way to deliver astronauts to the orbiting outpost.

"The launch had a problem with the booster [rocket] a few seconds after the first stage separation and we can now confirm that the crew has started to go into ballistic descent mode", the voice-over on a Nasa livestream from mission control in Houston said.

Video from inside the capsule showed the two men being shaken around at the moment the failure occurred, with their arms and legs flailing.

Photographs later released by Roscosmos after the rescue showed the two astronauts smiling and relaxing on sofas at a town near their landing site as they underwent medical tests.

NASA says it's dusting off its plans for flying the International Space Station without a crew after the aborted launch of a Russian rocket taking two astronauts toward the station.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential vote, but they have maintained cooperation in space research. Asked about the mishap, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he was "not worried" that American astronauts have to rely on Russian Federation to get into space.

1971: The three-men crew aboard Soyuz 11 suffocated as the result of an air leak after undocking from the Salyut 1 space station.

Initial reports are that the crew are in good condition, the agency said. Russia's Investigative Committee has also opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

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NASA says two astronauts from the USA and Russian Federation have been flown to the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan en route to Moscow after an emergency landing following the failure of a booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station.

Bridenstine praised the Soyuz emergency rescue system, saying it functioned like a "miracle". "The crew has been saved".

'Thank God, the crew is alive, ' Russian president Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters when it became clear that the crew had landed safely.

The US now only has access to the space station via Russia's Soyuz rocket, which is normally dependable.

NASA officials now must decide how or whether to maintain a US presence on the $100 billion orbital research laboratory. "We will naturally provide them with all the necessary information about what caused the failure".

The two astronauts were to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) six hours after the launch to join an American, a Russian and a German now aboard the station. A source in the Russian space agency told AFP that rescue workers had reached the crew.

Right now the space station has a crew of three - an American, a German and a Russian. They were due to return to Earth in December, but may now be stuck there longer. Unmanned launches of Soyuz rockets might also be suspended, Interfax said. He added that a "thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted".

"I'm grateful that everyone is safe", Bridenstine said in a statement.

Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, tweeted from orbit after the failed launch: "Spaceflight is hard". In August, a hole appeared in a Soyuz capsule already docked to the ISS which caused a brief loss of air pressure and had to be patched.

Rogozin said both would fly into space again, probably in the spring.


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