Science

Rocket Launch Failure Forces Astronaut And Cosmonaut To Make 'Ballistic Landing'

Rocket Launch Failure Forces Astronaut And Cosmonaut To Make 'Ballistic Landing'

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NASA could be forced to fly the International Space Station remotely if the remaining crew members have to leave before the investigation into what caused a failure onboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is completed.

The Soyuz-FG rocket, with the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft atop, lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:40 p.m. local time (4:40 a.m. EDT / 8:40 GMT) on October 11.

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the crew of astronaut Nick Hague of the USA and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russian Federation blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

Rescue crews then raced to the scene to retrieve them, including paratroopers parachuting to their landing spot, helicopters and all-terrain vehicles, NASA said. That said, there's no way of knowing how long Soyuz will be grounded, and when humans can once again be launched into space.

Wiseman said the astronauts were alerted about one second in advance by a warning light inside the capsule before it was separated from the malfunctioning Soyuz rocket. "During the separation, the first and second stages came into contact", Krikalev told reporters. In 1975, a manned Soyuz failed to separate between stages during an ascent and triggered the abort system. The accident has caused all launches of the Soyuz-FG rocket that are now planned to be put on hold until the exact cause of the failure becomes clear.

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches until it finds out what went wrong and Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate.

NASA's Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin blasted off to the International Space Station from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday, but their Soyuz rocket failed two minutes after the launch, triggering an emergency that sent their capsule into a steep, harrowing fall back to Earth. The results of the probe are expected to be out by the end of the month.

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He said failsafe systems operated properly by detaching the astronauts' capsule from the rocket and returning them to the ground. Ovchinin and Hague were both traveling to the ISS to join the three astronauts now aboard - Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor, and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev.

But the delay represents no danger to them, experts have said.

Private-sector solutions are now in the works, including Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, but neither program will be ready to send humans into space until at least the winter of 2019.

Hague and Ovchinin were set to replace astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, as well as Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, who departed ISS and returned to Earth last week. The flight was carrying NASA's Nick Hague and Russia's Alexey Ovchinin. Photos released by Roscomos showed them walking down a staircase from a Roscosmos plane.

We'll see what happens from here, but there are still a lot of questions to answer.

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin promised that Hague and Ovchinin will be given a chance soon to perform a stint on the orbiting outpost.

This failure comes as America is working to wean itself off of its Russian rocket dependency.


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