Soyuz rocket crew rescued after emergency landing

Cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague at the pre-launch ceremony in Kazakhstan

A search-and-rescue team has reached the landing site, both crewmembers are in good condition and have left the Soyuz capsule as of 6:10 a.m. EDT, NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said during live television commentary.

Footage from inside the Soyuz had shown the two men being shaken around at the moment the failure occurred, with their arms and legs flailing.

The launch failure follows close on the heels of another Soyuz issue, in which a hole was discovered August 29 on the MS-09 spacecraft that delivered the most recent crew to the space station.

"The launch had a problem with the booster (rocket) a few seconds after the first stage separation and we can confirm now that the crew has started to go into ballistic descent mode", the voiceover on a NASA livestream from mission control in Houston said.

The crew of the MS-10 landed roughly 19km east of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan and was met by a search and recovery team that's always prepared on the ground for a situation precisely like this. The agency said the rescue crews were preparing to return them to Moscow, and Roscosmos released still images of the two crew members receiving medical evaluation in Kazakhstan.

Dmitry Rogozin, a firebrand nationalist politician who this year was appointed by President Vladimir Putin to head Roscosmos, said on Twitter he had ordered a state commission to probe the accident.

A senior Cabinet official says that Russia is suspending manned space launches pending a probe into a Russian booster rocket failure minutes after the launch. The contingency procedure sends the spacecraft carrying the crew on a "sharper angle of landing compared to normal", NASA said.

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Those questions not only include what happened to make the Soyuz launch fail, but how NASA, Roscosmos, and the ESA will need to change the ISS schedule to accommodate today's failure. If the booster fails again, at worst they will have only lost the hardware and no human life.

According to the TASS news agency, the crew of Soyuz 18-1 experienced anywhere from 20 to 26 Gs on their descent. The mission would have been Hague's first space flight.

Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.

It was the latest in a recent series of failures for the troubled Russian space program, which is used by the U.S.to carry its astronauts to the station.

Collaboration between the USA and Russian space agencies has largely steered clear of geopolitical controversies, despite a standoff between Washington and Moscow that has continued since Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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.

If Soyuz MS-09 is left attached to the Station past its design life, it will become unusable.

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