Astronauts make emergency landing after rocket malfunction

International Space Station crew members board the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Kazakhstan

While Russian rockets had earned a stellar reputation for their reliability in the past, a string of failed launches in recent years has called into doubt Russia's ability to maintain the same high standards of their manufacturing.

NASA has confirmed both astronauts are in good condition, while a Russian news agency said neither of the men required any immediate medical help.

Search and rescue teams were deployed to the landing site. -Russian cooperation in space.

Booster rockets carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and a USA astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing, Russian news agencies reported. Hague, one of the two crewmembers on today's launch, was scheduled to take part in two upcoming spacewalks on October 19 and 25 to replace batteries attached to the outside of the space station. An uncrewed version of the Soyuz is used to launch automated Progress cargo ships to the space station. "Instead they'll be taking a sharp landing, coming back to Earth".

They were to dock at the orbiting outpost six hours later, but the booster suffered a failure minutes after the launch. Hague and Ovchinin would have joined Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev at the space station.

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The capsule landed about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. "The teams are en route to the landing site". Helicopters have already dispatched to look for the Soyuz space capsule, she said. The problem with the booster was detected minutes later.

Thursday's early morning launch was broadcast live by NASA TV. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted alongside an official statement on the Soyuz MS-10 Launch Abort. NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew. "The crew's safety systems worked".

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

Hague and Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2.40pm local time from the Baikonur cosmodrome on a Soyuz booster rocket. An investigation into that anomaly and how the hole was formed is also underway. Robotic cargo launches using USA -built resupply ships are also scheduled to deliver more supplies to the station in the next two months.

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