Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Rocket carrying space station crew fails in mid air, crew safe

US Russian astronauts safe after emergency landing Booster Problem Causes Soyuz Mission Abort, Ballistic Re-entry
Sandra Phillips | 12 October, 2018, 00:22

United States astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin were heading to the International Space Station when they had to make an emergency landing due to failure of the booster rockets.

For years, since NASA's final shuttle mission launched in 2011, the US has relied on Russian rockets to send astronauts to the International Space Station, which is largely funded by America taxpayer dollars.

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

The capsule jettisoned from the booster and went into a ballistic descent, landing at a sharper than normal angle. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur. No longer sure they had a safe return vehicle, the crew was forced to remain in orbit until the remotely controlled Soyuz 34 could be sent to the station as a lifeboat.

"Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today's launch", the agency said.

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.

The occupants of the capsule located at the tip of the rocket were scheduled to undertake a six-hour journey to the International Space Station (ISS), where they would meet Expedition 57 crewmates Alexander Gerst, Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, and Sergey Valerievich.

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International groups of astronauts often accompany each other to the International Space Station in joint launches.

Manned space launches have been suspended pending an investigation.

A senior Cabinet official says that Russia is suspending manned space launches pending a probe into a Russian booster rocket failure minutes after the launch. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who was in Kazakhstan for the rocket launch.

Thursday was the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013.

There have been two similar Soviet-era accidents involving the Soyuz spacecraft, which are still used to ferry crews to and from the ISS.

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

Thursday's incident was the first launch mishap for a Russian Soyuz booster since an on-pad abort in August 1983, CBS reported. Neither NASA or Roscosmos will be jumping to any conclusions, but Russian Federation has promised a full investigation and is forming a team to look into how and why the rocket failed as it did.

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