Russian Soyuz rocket malfunctions, makes emergency landing

Russia's Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the members of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 57/58, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, blasts off to the ISS from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Baikonur on October 11, 2018.

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

The launch failure marks an unprecedented mishap for the Russian space program, which has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents in recent years.

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster which carries the Soyuz MS-10 capsule is pictured on its way to the International Space Station.

The incident came as the rocket was travelling about 7,563 kilometres per hour, just 119 seconds into the voyage, according to NASA. "Search and rescue teams are heading towards the expected touchdown location of the spacecraft and crew". NASA tentatively plans to send its first crew to the ISS using a SpaceX craft instead of a Soyuz next April.

"We're tightening our seatbelts", Ovchinin said in the video.

Photographs released by Roscosmos after the rescue showed the two astronauts smiling and relaxing on sofas at a town near their landing site as they underwent blood pressure and cardiac tests.

Here's the latest on the failed space launch carrying two astronauts (all times local to Kazakhstan).

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 US astronaut.

The probe would seek to determine whether safety regulations had been violated during construction, leading to massive damage, the statement said.

"Officials are now examining the launch site, documents are being seized", it said in a statement. Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad, surviving without injuries. An uncrewed version of the Soyuz is used to launch automated Progress cargo ships to the space station.

Russian space officials have said they are investigating whether a hole that caused an oxygen leak on the ISS was drilled deliberately by astronauts. "Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind", ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted from aboard the space station as he watched and photographed the launch from space.

"It's a dramatic situation but it was possible to avoid a very much worse turn of events", he said in televised remarks.

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

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