Astronauts survive emergency landing after booster fails on Russian rocket

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin crew members of the mission to the International Space Station wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome Kazakhs

Russian and American astronauts destined for the International Space Station safely made an emergency landing after an engine malfunction during takeoff on Thursday.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin were heading to the International Space Station when they had to make an emergency landing due to failure of the booster rockets.

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.

Just over two minutes into the flight of the latest Soyuz rocket, delivering crew members to the International Space Station, the booster suffered some kind of in-flight accident, as debris was spotted in the rocket's wake during live coverage of the launch.

By early Thursday afternoon, Ovchinin and Hague were on helicopters, making their way back to Baikonur, NASA said.

After the booster failed, Ovchinin and Hague were forced to make a ballistic descent, coming back to the ground at a sharper angle than normal and causing higher gravitational forces on their bodies.

Search and rescue crews are heading to the landing site.

The rocket took off from Kazakhstan and was on its way to the International Space Station.

Russian and US space officials said that the crew is heading for an emergency landing in Kazakhstan at an unspecified time.

NASA says the agency is still gathering more details about the incident.

The International Space Station, a rare point of cooperation between Moscow and Washington, has been orbiting the Earth at roughly 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998 and will mark its 20th birthday in November.

David Saint-Jacques is scheduled to co-pilot the capsule December 20 and become the first Canadian at the orbiter since now-retired astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth in 2013.

A Russian space industry source was cited by the Interfax news agency as saying that there was enough food onboard the ISS to last until April of next year.

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

Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, and spacecraft returning from the ISS normally land in that region.

There was no immediate word on whether the space station crew might need to extend its own six-month mission.

The ISS, launched in 1998, is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit which is used to carry out scientific and space-related tests.

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