Astronauts survive emergency landing after booster fails on Russian rocket

"We are in communication with the crew at this point and hearing they are in good condition", a NASA spokeswoman in Houston said on the space agency's live video feed of the launch.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Avchinin were inside the Soyuz MS-10 capsule when the rocket carrying it had what NASA described as a booster separation problem. Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad, surviving the heavy G-loads without injuries. Borisov added that Russian Federation will fully share all relevant information with the U.S.

International groups of astronauts often accompany each other to the International Space Station in joint launches.

Two Russian and American astronauts had a lucky escape Thursday after the Russian Soyuz rocket that was meant to take them to the International Space Station suffered a malfunction after lift-off, sending their crew capsule hurtling back to earth. Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft. Hague and Ovchinin were set to be just the second two-man crew to travel to the space station in recent years.

Eleven minutes later, it added, "The crew is returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode", meaning that it was falling without propulsion and that its direction was determined only by the craft's momentum. "The crew's safety systems worked". A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.

Trouble was reported eight minutes after the Russian Soyuz rocket liftoff, when NASA tweeted, "There's been an issue with the booster from today's launch". Search and rescue teams are in contact with the Soyuz crew who are now safe, said NASA. Paratroopers parachuted to the rescue site, TASS news agency reported.

Russian and USA space officials said the crew made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan at an unspecified time.

Hague was originally scheduled to participate in spacewalks in the coming weeks to replace batteries on the outside of the space station. Search and rescue crews are getting ready to reach the expected landing site.

Nevertheless, officials in both countries continue to refer to space flight as a rare example of U.S. NASA TV will be back on the air at 10 a.m. four orbits later as the Soyuz spacecraft approaches the station for docking. Ovchinin spent six months on the orbiting outpost in 2016.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential vote, but they have maintained co-operation in space research.

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