Sci-tech

ISS crew in 'good condition' after failed space launch

ISS crew in 'good condition' after failed space launch

NASA said that rescue teams have reached Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin and they have been taken out of the capsule and were in good condition.

Russian officials are investigating the cause of a booster problem that forced a Soyuz rocket capsule to make an emergency landing just after launch.

Just over two minutes into the flight of the latest Soyuz rocket, delivering crew members to the International Space Station, the booster suffered some kind of in-flight accident, as debris was spotted in the rocket's wake during live coverage of the launch. Search and rescue teams were immediately scrambled to recover the crew and other paratroopers were dropped from a plane to reach the site and help the rescue effort.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator who was in Kazakhstan to witness Thursday's launch, said in a statement that the failure had been caused by an anomaly with the rocket's booster.

Earlier NASA warned the Soyuz capsule was returning to Earth "via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal".

Most recently, a mysterious hole was detected on the Russian section of the ISS in August, and a Soyuz launch failure destroyed 18 satellites in November 2017.

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"Thank God the cosmonauts are alive", Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Both of the astronauts feel "good, as well as possible after experiencing such g-forces". Spacewalks take extensive, long-term planning, so the crew and their teams back on Earth will have to come up with an alternative plan.

David Saint-Jacques is scheduled to co-pilot the capsule December 20 and become the first Canadian at the orbiter since now-retired astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth in 2013.

Hague was on his first space mission and was set to stay at the International Space Station for six months.

The Soyuz capsule carrying the two men separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made what NASA called a steep ballistic descent to Earth with parachutes helping to slow its speed.

Stefan Beransky, editor of the specialist Aerospatium magazine and author of a book on the Soyuz rocket, said now "the main problem is that there are two fewer people at the station". But it will need to be staffed before SpaceX or Boeing launches its new crew capsules next year, Todd said. The crew bailed out at an altitude of 164,000 feet and landed safely in Kazakhstan.

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The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on October 11, 2018.

The Canadian Space Agency said Thursday that it did not know whether the failed launch would affect Saint-Jacques' launch date.

Russian flight controllers described the forces experienced by Hague and Ovchinin as six to seven Gs due to the lack of velocity when the failure occurred.

NASA officials now must decide how or whether to maintain a US presence on the $100 billion orbital research laboratory. NASA now depends on Russian Soyuz launch systems to ferry crew members to the station.

Russian officials said all manned space flight missions would be suspended until investigators figure out what went wrong. He didn't say if he suspected any of the current crew of three Americans, two Russians and a German aboard the station.

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