Soyuz emergency landing puts extra pressure on astronauts

Selfie of Mars Curiosity rover

Both the USA space agency NASA and Russia's Roscosmos reported that the two were quickly recovered from the landing area by rescue crews.

Their arms and legs flail while being shaken around at he moment the failure occurred.

The launch lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 a.m. ET, but just six minutes after launch, Roscosmos reported that there was an issue with the booster, as reported by Loren Grush at The Verge.

Kenny Todd, operations integration manager at NASA for the International Space Station, says the three current residents of the orbiting outpost are fine and have plenty of supplies.

Rescue crews then raced to the scene to retrieve them, including paratroopers parachuting to their landing spot, helicopters and all-terrain vehicles, NASA said.

A few minutes after launch Roscosmos informed NASA that there had been an issue with the Soyuz booster.

The failure is the latest mishap for the Russian space programme, which has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents. The space agency recently announced the nine astronauts that will crew the test flights and first missions of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

The Russian Soyuz rocket has malfunctioned on lift-off has landed safely in Kazahstan, Russian media report. This would allow them to remain aboard the Station for another six months, hopefully enough time to complete the accident investigation and resume normal launches. Mission control told astronauts aboard the space station that during the landing, "the boys" experienced forces of about 6.7 G in a call that NASA later broadcast on the live commentary.

Roscosmos, which oversees the Russian space program, tweeted a photo of Hague and Ovchinin being examined in Zhezkazgan.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said all manned launches will be suspended pending an investigation into the cause of the failure.

Soon afterwards both space agencies were reporting the astronauts were in good health.

One potential problem: the spacecraft that would let the ISS crew to return to Earth, which docked at the station in June, is equipped with batteries that lose power after about 200 days, NASA said. Hague and Ovchinin are out of the capsule and reported to be in good condition.

It was the first time that the Soyuz - the main workhorse of manned space flight today - had failed on a launch to the 20-year-old International Space Station. "The ISS crew members now in-orbit have been notified of the launch contingency".

Questions are now likely to be asked about Russia's space programme.

Rogozin, the Roscosmos chief, has raised wide consternation by saying that an air leak spotted at the International Space Station was a drill hole that was made intentionally during manufacturing or in orbit.

It can hold a crew of up to six people and at present has three people aboard, two men - a German and a Russian - as well as one female USA astronaut.

Sadly, Orion isn't even close to being certified for crew delivery, and the rocket meant to put it into orbit, NASA's Space Launch System, is in a parlous state.

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