Space crew reunite with families after Soyuz rocket fail

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The two-man US-Russian crew of a Soyuz spacecraft en route to the International Space Station was forced to make a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan yesterday when their rocket failed mid-air.

A view shows the Soyuz capsule transporting USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, after it made an emergency landing following a failure of its booster rockets, near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan October 11, 2018.

"I want to start by saying how proud I am of Nick Hague, our astronaut, and his wife Catie", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

"It has a good reliability record, but like any system, you have to pay attention to details, and you can't let any problem arise because there are so many components that go into making a working rocket", said George Abbey, who directed NASA's Johnson Space Center between 1996 and 2001.

Nasa astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, the U.S. space agency and Russia's Roscosmos said.

When asked about the accident, United States president Donald Trump said that he was "not at all worried" that Americans had to rely on Russians to go to space. 2018, agency leader Dmitry Rogozin, center, embraces cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, left, and US astronaut Nick Hague at Star City, Russia, a space training center outside Moscow.

The Soviet-designed Soyuz rocket is now the world's only lifeline to the International Space Station and the accident will affect both Nasa and the work of the orbiting laboratory.

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There was no immediate word on whether Mr Gertz and the current space station crew might need to extend their own six-month missions.

However, in the meantime, this failure has a number of consequences for the agencies and the crew aboard the space station.

"Scary, scary, scary - not what we wanted", one family member said.

A Russian "state commission" has been formed to investigate the rocket failure. Unmanned cargo launches carry food and other supplies to the ISS and use the same rocket system as the Soyuz.

The failure undoubtedly has major implications for the far future of the space station program, and even in more immediate terms, this will likely change how the station runs for the time being, with two fewer crewmembers than expected.

The doomed booster left Earth behind at 4:40 AM ET today (Oct. 11), and everything seemed fine for the first several minutes. NASA too is conducting an investigation of its own.

This week's mishap marked the fourth time in the Soyuz program history that the ballistic mode of re-entry has occurred. "We are anxiously anticipating early next year the test of two separate commercial crew vehicles that will fly to the International Space Station - SpaceX ad Boeing". It's a predicament that would've seemed inconceivable to both Americans and Russians at the height of the space race in the 1960s and 1970s.

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