© Screenshot from AP video
Russian spacecraft are the only link for crews to the space station since the US ended its shuttle programme seven years ago.
The International Space Station is manned by three people: Alexander Gerst, the first-ever German commander, US astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, who have been aboard since June.
A botched launch of the Russian spaceship Soyuz narrowly avoided becoming the latest fatal space incident on Thursday. Rescue systems managed to save the lives of two crew members and conduct an emergency landing.
The Soyuz-MS-10 spacecraft was meant to deliver Roscosmos’ Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, members of Expedition 57/58, to the International Space Station (ISS). But 119 seconds after take-off from the launch site in Kazakhstan the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle experienced a malfunction and crew rescue protocols were engaged.
NASA, on its livestream, reported that a problem seemed to have occurred with the booster rocket between the first and second stages of separation. Shortly afterwards, NASA said they were making a “ballistic descent”
US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin exited the Russian spacecraft in “good condition” after parachuting down near the Kazakh city of Jezkazgan, the US space agency NASA reported.
Russia said it would suspend manned spaceflights pending an investigation.
There have been some failures of unmanned, cargo flights to the space station in recent years because of problems with the rockets.
Russia, (rt.com/BBC/dpa international), Oct 11, 2018