Rocket carrying NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonaut fails in mid-air, crew alive
A Russian rocket transporting astronauts to the International Space Station has aborted its mission after a booster malfunction during the launch phase forced its crew to attempt a dramatic ‘ballistic re-entry’.
Search and rescue teams were scrambled to the expected touchdown location as NASA revealed the descent would mean the Russian-built Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft had taken ‘a sharper angle of landing compared to normal’.
The Russian-built Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4.40am local time on Thursday – but soon ran into trouble.
It was manned by a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut said to be working to bring the shuttle back to Earth safely after it developed a ‘booster issue’ shortly before they left orbit.
Both astronauts were said to be ‘alive’, but their exact condition is not known – according to local Russian reports saying they landed in Kazakhstan.
Rescue crews are now heading towards the emergency landing site in the barren Kazakh steppe to provide support for the crew.
NASA commentator Brandi Dean in NASA mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston reported the Soyuz MS-10 capsule had made an emergency landing after a “ballistic” descent, a normal but steeper-than-usual trajectory back to Earth. She said Russia’s space agency had informed NASA that a rescue mission was in contact with the Soyuz crew on the ground and they were said to be in good condition.
Dean indicated that while the Soyuz crew would have been “subjected to higher G-forces” due to the ballistic descent, it is a “known mode of descent” that the crew would have been versed in.