Rocket carrying space station crew fails in mid air

The two crew members on board, cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague of NASA, are alive after performing an emergency landing.

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying astronaut Nick Hague of the USA and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russian Federation blasted off from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday - before the mission was aborted.

An American and a Russian spaceflier are in good shape after they were forced to abort their trip to the International Space Station due to a rocket anomaly, but today's scary launch has cast a pall over orbital operations going forward.

Glover, the NASA astronaut at the bar, received word that the astronauts were making a "ballistic descent", a much steeper and faster return to Earth than what is ideal - but that search-and-rescue crews were in contact with the astronauts.

Russia's space agency says that the men are unharmed and in good condition.The Russian government is launching an official probe into the incident. 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.

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

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Russian Federation immediately suspended all manned space launches, the RIA news agency reported, and Roscomosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said he had ordered a state commission to be set up to investigate what had gone wrong.

The incident comes as the US has been making progress in its quest to end Russia's monopoly on manned flights to the ISS by encouraging private companies to conduct launches.

The moment the boost rocket failed was captured on the live-feed of the launch carried on NASA and Roscomos' websites. It had a Russian cosmonaut and a USA astronaut on board.

The descent was sharper than usual meaning the crew was subjected to a greater G-force, but they have been prepared for this scenario in training, the commentator said. Ovchinin spent six months on the orbiting outpost in 2016.

Their ride aboard the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft was originally scheduled to last 6.5 hours.

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