Soyuz MS-10: Russian spacecraft makes emergency landing on Earth

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin crew members of the mission to the International Space Station wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome Kazakhs

A Russian cosmonaut and a USA astronaut were safe on Thursday after a Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station failed in mid-air two minutes after liftoff in Kazakhstan, leading to a dramatic emergency landing. As rescue crews arrived, Hague and Ovchinin were reported in "good condition" and found out of the capsule.

Their arms and legs flail while being shaken around at he moment the failure occurred.

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan at 4:40 AM EDT.

NASA rookie Nick Hague and second-time flyer Aleksey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency were setting off for a six-month mission at the International Space Station Thursday, on a relatively rare two-man launch.

Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the landing location and collected the astronauts who made it safely back.

While the Russian space program has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents in recent years, Thursday's mishap marked the program's first manned launch failure since September 1983, when a Soyuz exploded on the launch pad.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: "Thank God the cosmonauts are alive". Unmanned launches of Soyuz rockets might also be suspended, Interfax said.

Ovchinin was heading to space for the second time, having previously served aboard the station.

Russian Soyuz are now the only vehicle used to carry astronauts to the orbiting Space Station, after the USA retired its space shuttle fleet.

A NASA statement on the aborted launch stated: "NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully".

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

The pair were said to be in good condition after landing in Kazakhstan.

Even if the Soyuz spacecraft is cleared for launch before December, Hadfield said, it could end up carrying astronauts from Thursday's launch rather than the next scheduled crew.

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. Images show the Soyuz-FG rocket booster lifting the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft high into the sky before Thursday's mission was abandoned.

Both SpaceX and Boeing have rockets capable of reaching the orbiting space station, however they do not have the crew capsules ready.

The space agency tweeted: "There's been an issue with the booster from today's launch". Last month, the current ISS crew discovered a hole in the vessel that Russian Federation claims was drilled deliberately.

"What we usually do is one group comes up and another group comes down just as part of our regular crew rotation", NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton said.

Questions are now likely to be asked about how efficiently Russia's space program is running.

After the malfunction they were forced to return to Earth in a process known as a "ballistic re-entry", during which they experienced forces of up to 7G. The hole cause a small oxygen leak while hooked up to the ISS.

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