Astronauts escape malfunctioning Soyuz rocket

Pablo Tucker
October 11, 2018

BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN-A duo of astronauts aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule bound for the the International Space Station landed back on Earth mere minutes after launch as their rocket suffered an unspecified failure.

Both astronauts were said to be "alive" on Thursday morning, but their exact condition is not known - according to local Russian report.

Nasa rookie astronaut Nick Hague and second-time flier Aleksey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency landed without injuries, the Interfax news agency reported.

The Kremlin confirmed the men had survived.

A Soyuz rocket carrying the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 a.m. Search and rescue crews are getting ready to reach the expected landing site.

"We had an interruption on today's launch", a NASA commentator reported.

It comes weeks after a hole was discovered in the International Space Station amid talk from the Russian space authorities of deliberate sabotage.

"Teams have been in contact with the crew".

It was the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013.

Rockets use boosters to provide the thrust they need to launch from Earth and breech the atmosphere.

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 US presidential vote, but Russia and the USA have maintained cooperation in space.

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