Soyuz Carrying Astronaut, Cosmonaut Makes Emergency Landing

Soyuz Carrying Astronaut, Cosmonaut Makes Emergency Landing

The crew of Expedition 57, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin made an emergency landing in their Soyuz spacecraft following launch to the space station. The crew is reported to be in safe condition, according to the latest update from NASA, and search and rescue crews have deployed to the landing site. 

Shortly after liftoff, Roscosmos, and then NASA, reported an issue with a rocket booster. The crew immediately began abort procedures and the spacecraft triggered ballistic re-entry maneuvers. The booster failure and re-entry procedures appear to have occurred in the first two to three minutes following liftoff.

Video of the launch shows the moments inside the capsule before emergency procedures began, when the crew experienced intense shaking that does not normally happen at that point in the flight.

The Soyuz was forced to return on a ballistic descent path, which is sharper than the normal descent made by the spacecraft.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine was in attendance in Baikonur, Kazakhstan for the launch following meetings with Roscosmos General Director Rogozin to reaffirm the cooperation of the two agencies following a suspect Soyuz capsule tampering discovered in August.

"I’m grateful that everyone is safe. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted." Bridenstine said via Twitter. 

Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident, according to both Bridenstine and NASA.  According to the AP, "Senior official says Russia suspending manned space launches pending investigation into rocket failure."

Expedition 57 carried only a two man crew, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, aboard the Soyuz which launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 a.m. EDT, October 11. The journey to the International Space Station (ISS) was scheduled to be a six hour flight before docking with the ISS. Hague and Ovchinin were meant to join crew mates Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst, and Prokopyev, who are already living and working on the ISS.

The last, and first, Soyuz launch abort was in 1983, Soyuz T-10-1. Before that, in 1975, Soyuz 7K-T had an in-flight failure and was aborted. Both crews survived.

The Soyuz is currently the only ISS crew transportation option available to ISS partners.

Update: 5:15 a.m. CST Emergency search and rescue team has reached the two man crew at the Soyuz landing site. The crew is reported to be in good condition and out of the capsule.

Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate today's Soyuz launch incident, NASA said.

The Soyuz landed near Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan after failing to launch to the International Space Station.

Update 6:10 a.m. CST: Astronaut crew is onboard helicopters en route to Baikanur where a NASA plane awaits NASA astronaut Nick Hague, according to NASA.

Update 6:44 a.m. CST: Cosmonaut Roscosmos Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague are now in Zhezkazgan undergoing a survey before departure. Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin decided to transport the crew to Baikonur.

Update 7:45 a.m. CST: According to Russian Deputy PM, the escape system officially activated T+123 seconds into flight.

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