USA astronaut Nick Hague, right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), walk prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.
Reuters Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin (R) and US astronaut Nick Hague (L) disembark from a plane, after the Soyuz spacecraft made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, as they arrive at Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan, Oct. 11, 2018.
This was the 139th launch of the Soyuz program and the first abort during ascent since 1975 when a failure in second-stage separation triggered emergency reentry 21 minutes after launch.
It was to be Hague's first flight to the station, launching at 3:40 a.m. Thursday from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Here's the latest on the failed space launch carrying two astronauts (all times local to Kazakhstan). But the incident highlights recent tensions that have surfaced in a long-running collaboration in space between the USA and Russian Federation. This Hague's first flight. The spacecraft executed an emergency ballistic landing with a sharp angle of descent.
Rescue crews then raced to the scene to retrieve them with reports of paratroopers parachuting to their landing spot. The situation looked quite similar to what Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague experienced Thursday.
Two astronauts from the USA and Russian Federation are in good condition after a booster failed and they were forced to make an emergency landing.
Speaking with reporters in Moscow before Thursday's launch, Bridenstine said that Russian-American cooperation in space remained strong, amid an investigation into the cause of the leak.
Dmitry Rogozin, a firebrand nationalist politician who this year was appointed by Putin to head Roscosmos, said a "thorough investigation" was needed after the failed launch. Which is good news for NASA and companies like SpaceX and Boeing that are developing similar systems for their manned spacecraft - but have never had to test them under live conditions.
The Russian space program has suffered several failures in recent years.
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Nevertheless, after more than 100 crewed launches by Soyuz rockets, today's incident remains just the third serious launch failure, and all astronauts have survived those incidents. He is a colonel in the Air Force. Nasa has been paying for seats on Soyuz rockets to ferry its astronauts to the International Space Station since the Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011.
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.
Ovchinin was heading to space for the second time, having previously served aboard the station.
The rocket had lifted off at 4:40 a.m. ET on a journey that was expected to involve four orbits of the Earth and take six hours. The two men returned to earth safely and a picture released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos showed them having their blood pressure taken in a Kazakh city near their landing site.
There was no immediate word on whether the space station crew might need to extend its own six-month mission.
Hague and Ovchinin would have joined the station's current crew, which includes American astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor.
Initial information is that the crew of the capsule is not in danger and the Soyuz is in "ballistic descent mode". That vehicle has a limited life span and expires in early January.
NASA officials now must decide how or whether to maintain a US presence on the $100 billion orbital research laboratory. That would be a huge change for an outpost that has been continuously occupied for about 18 years, but it's something that NASA and its worldwide partners have always been prepared to do, if necessary.
"That relationship is strong, and whatever happens terrestrially, we've always been able to keep space exploration and discovery and science separate from whatever terrestrial disputes there may be", he said.