Friday, 14 December, 2018

Soyuz capsule makes emergency landing after booster failure, Russian media reports

Soyuz-FG rocket booster blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague of the ISS Expedition 57/58 prime crew aboard to the International Space Station (IS ISS: Space rocket declares emergency after launch – astronauts parachute out | Daily Star
Kristen Harrington | 12 October, 2018, 03:00

A view shows the Soyuz capsule transporting US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, after it made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

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

The crew launched at 12:40 (UAE time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Kenny Todd, operations integration manager at NASA for the International Space Station, says the three current residents of the orbiting outpost are fine and have plenty of supplies.

Just two minutes after liftoff, the crew of the Soyuz MS-10 found themselves in a situation that every astronaut since the beginning of the manned space program has trained for, but very few have ever had to face: a failure during launch.

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The Soyuz separated from the booster before returning in what NASA called a "ballistic descent", which means it came in at a sharper angle than normal with the crew experiencing higher gravitational forces.

"Thank God the cosmonauts are alive", Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. "But never in the 20-year history of the ISS program has a manned Soyuz rocket experienced a problem on launch".

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

NASA astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 57/58, is helped by specialists as his space suit is tested at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 11, 2018.

Soyuz flights are suspended while the Russian space agency Roscosmos investigates the cause of the failure.

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Both are reported in good condition. The failure put the MS-10 capsule into a ballistic trajectory and it and the crew were recovered 200 miles east of the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch point, NASA said early Thursday. "Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today's launch", the agency said.

It can hold a crew of up to six people and at present has three people aboard, two men - a German and a Russian - as well as one female US astronaut. The two men returned to earth safely and a picture released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos showed them having their blood pressure taken in a Kazakh city near their landing site. Today it has been shown again how great the Soyuz is: despite a misstart, the crew was safely brought back to Earth. But as the Soyuz is now the only way we have to get humans into space, this means new crew can't be sent to the ISS until Roscosmos is confident the issue has been identified and resolved.

This incident will likely delay the scheduled mission of Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who was set to fly to the space station in December. That 0.08-inch (2-millimeter) hole in the orbital module of the Soyuz vehicle created a small air leak on the space station that was detected by flight controllers on the ground and ultimately repaired by astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station.

"A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", he said, saying the safety of the crew was the utmost priority for NASA.

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