Science

Watch the Moment the Soyuz Rocket Fails

Watch the Moment the Soyuz Rocket Fails”

The booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and United States astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing. Those questions not only include what happened to make the Soyuz launch fail, but how NASA, Roscosmos, and the ESA will need to change the ISS schedule to accommodate today's failure.

The failure is a setback for the Russian space programme and the latest in a string of mishaps.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesman, put it more bluntly in his daily conference call with journalists: "Thank God everyone is alive".

The investigation into a mysterious hole on a Russian ISS module has been left on a cliffhanger as several spacewalks had to be scrapped after a Soyuz rocket failed to bring two crewmembers aboard the station.

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Sergei Krikalyov, the head of Roscosmos' manned programs, said the launch went awry after one of the rocket's four boosters failed to jettison about two minutes into the flight, damaging the main stage and triggering the emergency landing.

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 p.m.in Baikonur) carrying American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. "Search and rescue teams are heading towards the expected touchdown location of the spacecraft and crew", tweeted NASA. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur. The agency is waiting for both Boeing and SpaceX to deliver home-grown spacecraft so it no longer has to rely on Russian Federation to send supplies and crew to the ISS.

Footage then cuts from the crew to an animation, while the rocket returns to Earth in a ballistic descent mode.

It was the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013. Hague and Ovchinin are being taken from their emergency landing site to Moscow.

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A source at the Baikonur space center told Sputnik on Thursday that all Russian manned launches had been suspended after the Soyuz accident.

Had the launch gone smoothly, Ovchinin and Hague would have reached the space station later today.

Russia, which relies on boosters designed during the Soviet Union, has a reputation for reliability with spacecraft. The Russian space agency also sent 70 rocket engines back to production lines in 2016 to replace broken parts.

"I strongly believe we're going to get the right answer to what caused the hole on the International Space Station and that together we'll be able to continue our strong collaboration", Bridenstine said on a visit to Moscow this week, according to the Associated Press. He didn't say if he suspected any of the station's crew.

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