Space crew survives plunge to Earth after rocket launch fails

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Both astronauts were said to be "alive" on Thursday morning, but their exact condition is not known - according to local Russian report.

The rescue capsule landed about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Instead, the two astronauts landed safely a half-hour later, rescued by the capsule's "automated abort systems" that "is created to be effective", said Kenny Todd, the International Space Station manager.

In August, the International Space Station crew spotted a hole in a Russian Soyuz capsule docked to the orbiting outpost that caused a brief loss of air pressure before being patched.

Rescue teams near the Soyuz capsule that carried USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin after an emergency landing in central Kazakhstan Oct. 11, 2018.

Other failures have been blamed on corruption within the manufacturing process of the rockets. This caused the capsule to drop very sharply into the Earth's atmosphere.

About 30 minutes later the capsule parachuted onto a barren area of steppe in Kazakhstan. Spacewalks take extensive, long-term planning, so the crew and their teams back on Earth will have to come up with an alternative plan.

"I fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no reason to believe at this point that it will not be on schedule", the Nasa administrator said.

Russian Federation has said it will suspend all its manned flights to the International Space Station until the cause of the accident has been investigated. He added that Russian Federation will fully share all relevant information with the U.S. One photo showed Hague smiling, and another showed him next to Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's space agency chief.

However, in the meantime, this failure has a number of consequences for the agencies and the crew aboard the space station. Officials are also investigating the unusual hole recently found in a Soyuz spacecraft aboard the International Space Station.

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Roscosmos say they are forming a commission to investigate the launch failure.

Rogozin tweeted shortly before Thursday's failed launch that he had signed a contract to send the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to the ISS. The cosmonauts safely escaped in that accident as well.

The rocket, carrying an American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut, began to plummet to earth about two minutes into the six-hour mission due to what launch controllers initially called a "vehicle malfunction".

According to Dean, this sort of landing would have subjected the crew to g-forces higher than what they would normally have to withstand, but was within the realm of "modes that we're familiar with" and that crews have dealt with before.

Relations between the US and Russian Federation have been very tense in recent years.

Collaboration between the U.S. 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 USA presidential election. -Russian cooperation in space, voicing hope that it wouldn't be affected by politics.

The U.S. and other nations have depended on Russian Federation to carry astronauts to the ISS since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon v2 and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

Mario Ritter adapted this story for VOA Learning English from AP and Reuters stories.

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