Launch failure may imperil Canadian astronaut's trip to ISS

Selfie of Mars Curiosity rover

Booster rockets carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and a US 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.

The rocket was transporting Hague and Ovchinin from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six-month stay on the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were forced to make an emergency landing shortly after their mission launched yesterday. "Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today's launch", the agency said. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos tweeted that it's creating a formal commission to investigate the rocket failure.

"My reaction was, "things aren't going well and he's not speaking English, '" NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters Friday, after Hague and Roscosmos" Alexei Ovchinin returned to the Star City training center outside Moscow from their abruptly shortened mission.

A recording of communications between the space station and NASA stated that Hague and Ovchinin had experienced 6.7 G's - about the same as Apollo astronauts felt during reentry, according to Air and Space magazine.

Russian news agencies reported that the crew had safely made an emergency landing and were in radio contact and that rescuers were en route to pick them up.

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Hadfield noted that the launch failure should not be seen as an indictment of the Soyuz rockets, calling mechanical failure part and parcel of space travel.

After this morning's launch failed to reach orbit, the International Space Station is left with only three crewmembers aboard, commanded by German astronaut Alexander Gerst.

In public comments about the launch and rescue operations, he said he saw NASA staff come together to support Hague's family after the launch failure. The head of Roskosmos's manned-flight program has said the space agency is still planning to send a crew to the space station in December, pending the results of the investigation into the October 11 launch mishap. That said, there's no way of knowing how long Soyuz will be grounded, and when humans can once again be launched into space.

However, Thursday's incident was the first manned launch failure since 1983 when a Soyuz rocket exploded in the launch area. Russian Federation says there is enough food on board to last until April.

"To keep space separate from the political environment has been our tradition and we want to keep that", said Bridenstine. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.

This isn't the first time this has happened. "We are planning their flight for the spring of next year". It's a predicament that would've seemed inconceivable to both Americans and Russians at the height of the space race in the 1960s and 1970s.

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