An American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut were forced to abort their mission to the International Space Station on Thursday, after a rocket failure mid-flight.
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster which carries the Soyuz MS-10 capsule is pictured on its way to the International Space Station.
The booster anomaly was identified about 3min 15sec. after lift-off at 4:40a.m. ET, triggering a ballistic re-entry of the capsule and subjecting the crew to higher than normal g-forces.
NASA said that rescue teams have reached Hague and Ovchinin and they've been taken out of the capsule and were in good condition. The astronauts were flown by helicopter to Dzhezkazgan and will later be taken to Star City, Russia's space training center outside Moscow. But the emergency ballistic landing was executed properly, and rescue teams pre-deployed along the Soyuz's flight path went into action quickly.
Additionally, the Soyuz rocket launches cargo ships to the space station along with crewed missions like the one this morning.
An undated handout photo made available by NASA showing a hole in a Russian spaceship docked at the ISS.
It said there was an issue with "the booster from today's launch".
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Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident, Dean said.
ABC News reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov announced that all manned launches will be suspended until the investigation is complete and the cause of the rocket's failure can be pin-pointed. NASA and Roscosmos will now need to make an unprecedented decision which could lead to abandoning the International Space Station; the first time it would be left unmanned since the Expedition 1 mission arrived in November 2000.
The last time the Russian space program had a manned launch failure was in 1983.
"That relationship is strong, and whatever happens terrestrially, we've always been able to keep space exploration and discovery and science separate from whatever terrestrial disputes there may be", he said.
There have been two similar Soviet-era accidents involving the Soyuz spacecraft, which are still used to ferry crews to and from the ISS.
Russian space agency Roscosmos has released photographs of both astronauts being checked over after their abrupt landing.
It is not clear how long the Soyuz vehicle will be grounded, or how long the current crew can remain in orbit. Roscosmos sent more than 70 rocket engines back to production lines to replace faulty components.