Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Astronauts cheat death as rocket fails in mid-flight

Astronauts cheat death as rocket fails in mid-flight

According to Nasa, the crew is returned to Earth inside the Soyuz capsule "in a ballistic descent mode".

For the crew in the capsule, events would have happened very quickly, NASA's deputy chief astronaut Reid Wiseman told reporters at Johnson Space Centre in Houston.

The booster rocket failure that forced an emergency landing for two astronauts headed to the International Space Station was the first launch accident for Russia's manned-space program in 35 years.

A Russian rocket carrying an American and a Russian to the International Space Station failed on launch Thursday, forcing the astronaut and cosmonaut to careen back to Earth in a dramatic emergency landing.

The problem occurred when a booster rocket on the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle failed in some way, NASA said.

The journey was expected to take six hours.

"The Soyuz capsule is returning to Earth via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal".

United States astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, Nasa, the U.S. space agency and Russia's Roscosmos said. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur.

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But this prevented subtitles from working on some video apps, and also created an issue where Bluetooth might not work. A bug was causing some of these models to hook up with a slower 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network instead of a faster 5GHz signal.

Sergei Krikalev, a senior Roscosmos official, said on Friday that Russian Federation may also delay a planned unmanned cargo shipment by a Progress spacecraft to the ISS.

A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said: "Thank God the cosmonauts are alive".

Russian Federation was forming a state commission to investigate the Soyuz launch incident, Nasa said. They are reported to be in good condition, and will now return to Baikonur Cosmodrome, before heading on to Moscow.

Three people are now aboard the space station: a German, a Russian and an American. The mission would have been Hague's first space flight.

Russian Federation has continued to rely on Soviet-designed booster rockets to launching commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the International Space Station.

Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident, Dean said.

The capsule's parachute deployed successfully, however, landing them on the grassy steppe about 250 miles from the Baikonur Cosmodrome rented by Russian Federation.

Had the launch gone smoothly, Ovchinin and Hague would have reached the space station later today. Russian Federation has suspended manned flights pending an investigation of the latest failure. Hague is originally from Kansas, but he did graduate from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules. The launch was proceeding normally until the first mention of booster failure at about the 3:30 mark. The Russian space agency also sent 70 rocket engines back to production lines in 2016 to replace broken parts.

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