Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Rocket carrying two astronauts to International Space Station makes emergency landing

Theresa Hayes | 11 October, 2018, 13:00

Russian news agencies reported that booster rockets carrying the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft on a mission headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air, forcing the crew to abort the flight and make the landing.

US and Russian officials said the crew was heading for an emergency landing in Kazakhstan at an unspecified time. The first-stage of the Soyuz MS-10 launch appeared flawless until NASA reported the problem just as the crew reached orbit. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: "Thank God the cosmonauts are alive".

However, it later tweeted that there had been an issue with the booster from the launch and that the rocket would returning to Earth in "ballistic descend mode".

They were to dock at the International Space Station six hours later, but the booster suffered engine failure minutes after the launch.

Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, left and NASA astronaut Nick Hague walk to the van that carried them to their rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 11, 2018.

A subsequent statement said: "The Soyuz capsule has landed back on Earth carrying two crew members". Hague and Ovchinin will spend about six months living and working aboard the orbiting lab.