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Astronauts Forced to Make Emergency Landing after Rocket Failure

Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Hague, seen before an emergency landing, are said to be in good condition after their capsule was forced to make an emergency landing Thursday. Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Hague, seen before an emergency landing, are said to be in good condition after their capsule was forced to make an emergency landing Thursday. |  Photo: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

Compiled from Associated Press reports
Created: October 11, 2018 12:12 PM

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) - NASA says two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia have been flown to the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan en route to Moscow after an emergency landing following the failure of a booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station.

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NASA posted pictures of NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin undergoing a medical check-up at Dzhezkazgan's airport. They are to be flown to the Baikonur cosmodrome and then on to Star City space training center outside Moscow.

One of the pictures showed Hague smiling and another had him sitting next to Russia's space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin.

U.S. and Russian space officials said the astronauts are in good condition. They endured higher than usual G-force during the emergency landing.

Space Station commander Alexander Gerst says he is grateful astronauts are doing well.

Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, tweeted from orbit after the failed launch: "Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind."

He thanked the rescue force that arrived quickly to retrieve Hague and Ovchinin. Their capsule was jettisoned from a three-stage booster rocket that failed two minutes after liftoff.

Hague and Ovchinin were supposed to spend the next half year aboard the International Space Station.

Gerst wrote that the mishap shows "what an amazing vehicle the Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure."

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

Two spacewalks planned for later this month were off indefinitely. Hague was supposed to be one of the spacewalkers.

A senior Cabinet official says that Russia is suspending manned space launches pending a probe into the failure.

Credits

Compiled from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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