Russian, US astronauts survive rocket failure in space station launch

Astronauts aboard the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft survived an emergency landing following a booster failure, according to a Russian space official.

An American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut were forced to abort their mission to the International Space Station on Thursday, after a rocket failure mid-flight.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is now the only vehicle for ferrying crews to the International Space Station following the retirement of the US space shuttle fleet. "The Soyuz capsule returned to Earth via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal", NASA said on its website.

NASA and Russian Roscosmos space agency said the astronauts were in good condition after their capsule landed about 20 kilometres east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

The crew reached the ground safely.

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Photographs 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 blood pressure and cardiac tests.

Hague and Ovchinin were expected to spend six months on the station working on a range of scientific experiments.

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The International Space Station - a rare point of cooperation between Moscow and Washington - has been orbiting the Earth since 1998.

A duo of astronauts from the USA and Russian Federation has blasted off for a mission on the International Space Station.

After their rescue, Hague and Ovchinin were set to be airlifted to a space flight training center outside of Moscow.

But the three - a German, a Russian and an American - might have to stay on the space station into next year due the crash, Interfax quoted a source as saying. The missions both hope to launch in 2019, though they have each experienced delays thus far. Helicopters have already dispatched to look for the Soyuz space capsule, she said.

The failure is the latest mishap for the Russian space programme, which has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents.

The Russian space industry has suffered a series of problems in recent years, including the loss of a number of satellites and cargo spacecraft. The launch was to have been Hague's first space mission. There was an issue with the booster, according to NASA, forcing the crew to separate from the rocket and fall back to Earth. "Today showed again what an unbelievable vehicle the Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure".

RIA news agency, citing its own source, reported that Russian Federation had made a decision to suspend all manned space launches following the "Soyuz" failure. Roscosmos sent more than 70 rocket engines back to production lines to replace faulty components.

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