Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Russian Federation opens criminal probe over failed rocket launch

Soyuz-FG rocket booster blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague of the ISS Expedition 57/58 prime crew aboard to the International Space Station (IS ISS: Space rocket declares emergency after launch – astronauts parachute out | Daily Star
Grady Vargas | 13 October, 2018, 02:59

The booster carrying them failed within two minutes of flight, forcing both astronauts to make a "steep ballistic descent", NASA said. As rescue crews arrived, Hague and Ovchinin were reported in "good condition" and found out of the capsule.

Thursday's dramatic launch abort that returned the crew of Soyuz MS-10 safely to Earth after a still-unidentified booster anomaly was the first time a crewed spacecraft bound for the International Space Station has suffered a mission critical failure.

Astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 1:40 a.m. PDT Thursday from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket.

NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, pledged a thorough investigation after the aborted launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket.

According to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian part of the International Space Station (ISS), the flight is being planned for the spring of next year.

Footage showed the pair shaking around in the capsule, enduring gravitational forces of six to seven times more than is felt on Earth as they came down at a sharper-than-normal angle.

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Reuters Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin (R) and USA astronaut Nick Hague (L) disembark from a plane, after the Soyuz spacecraft made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, as they arrive at Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan, Oct. 11, 2018. After about 20 minutes of uncertainty, Russian officials confirmed the crew were OK, and had landed about 20km east of Dzhezkazgan, a city in central Kazakhstan. Spacecraft returning from the ISS normally land in that region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin would be briefed on the incident. NASA's Bridenstine said Hague, the USA astronaut, had told him he wanted to fly again and that NASA had huge confidence in him but that he didn't know when he might fly. He didn't say if he suspected any of the current crew of three Americans, two Russians and a German aboard the station.

Since the US scrapped its space shuttle program in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian Federation to send its astronauts up to the space station.

The Russian capsule experienced a booster problem which meant the two-man crew's six-month mission to the International Space Station has had to be delayed. The agency said the rescue crews were preparing to return them to Moscow, and Roscosmos released still images of the two crew members receiving medical evaluation in Kazakhstan. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

Since its debut in the Soviet Union in 1966, the Soyuz has been the most-used launch vehicle in history.

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