Astronauts make emergency landing after Russian rocket fails after launch

American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin survived a harrowing emergency landing, following the failure of the Soyuz rocket booster carrying them to space, but what does this mean for the International Space Station?

Eastern time aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Roscosmos and NASA said the three-stage Soyuz booster suffered an emergency shutdown of its second stage.

After the booster failed, Ovchinin and Hague were forced to make a ballistic descent, coming back to the ground at a sharper angle than normal and causing higher gravitational forces on their bodies.

Currently, the Russian's Soyuz rocket is the only system in the world that can carry human crew members up to the ISS, and return them safely home afterward.

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.

An "anomaly" with the booster led to the voyage to the International Space Station being aborted two minutes in, NASA said.

The Soyuz rocket and its Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at about 4:47 a.m. EDT (0847 GMT) with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin aboard. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", NASA administrator Jim Birdenstine tweeted.

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Had the launch gone smoothly, Ovchinin and Hague would have reached the space station later today.

During a trip to Moscow this week, Bridenstine emphasized the importance of continuing to work with Russia's NASA equivalent, Roscosmos.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential vote, but they have maintained co-operation in space research.

Russian investigators said they were launching a criminal probe into the accident, the first such incident on a manned flight in the country's post-Soviet history. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon v2 and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

A U.S. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut are alive after a failure during a mission to the International Space Station.

Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws at the plant in Voronezh. Everything had been going quite smoothly for Roscosmos ahead of the weird hole discovered in one of their Soyuz spacecraft which was (and still is) attached to the International Space Station.

SpaceX plans to launch an uncrewed test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft by January, but could be ready to launch in December depending on NASA's needs, the company has said.

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