Astronauts Escape Failing Russian Rocket

Prepared Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague walk to the launch pad

Russia's Interfax news agency, citing sources in Russia's space program, said the space station crew will likely have to wait until early next year before another mission can be planned to bring supplies and take them home.

International Space Station crew members astronaut Nick Hague of the U.S. and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russian Federation board the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on Thursday.

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

In 1975, the failure of a Soyuz upper stage sent Vasily Lazarev and Oleg Makarov into a fiery fall to Earth from an altitude of 190 kilometres, subjecting them to enormous G-forces that caused them to black out and temporarily lose sight.

Rescue workers reached the site of the emergency landing and evacuated Ovchinin and Hague.

One of the pictures showed Hague smiling and another had him sitting next to Russia's space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin.

However, he added: "Of course, it will all depend on the results of the [investigation]" into the October 11 debacle.

"We like having more than one operational system, and right now, by my count, we have zero", said Lori Garver, a former NASA deputy administrator who was a strong advocate for commercial crew during the Obama administration. Robotic cargo launches using US -built resupply ships are also scheduled to deliver more supplies to the station in the next two months.

Hague was born in the same year the U.S. and the Soviet Union launched their first joint space mission, the Apollo-Soyuz, or Soyuz-Apollo mission in 1975.

Two astronauts from the USA and Russia are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch.

Stefan Beransky, editor of the specialist Aerospatium magazine and author of a book on the Soyuz rocket, said now "the main problem is that there are two fewer people at the station". "This is a very hard business that we're in". Dzhezkazgan is about 280 miles northeast of Baikonur, and spacecraft returning from the space station normally land in that region. The Russian space agency also sent 70 rocket engines back to production lines in 2016 to replace broken parts. Russian Federation says there is enough food on board to last until April.

Russian controllers told the space station astronauts that NASA's Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin endured 6.7 times the force of gravity during their steeper than usual entry.

He said the current space station crew can stay on board only until January - just a month beyond their scheduled December return - because their Soyuz capsule, which has been docked at the station since June, has limited battery life and is only good for about 200 days in orbit.

The pair are in contact with ground control, the space agency said.

The space station could operate like that indefinitely, barring a major equipment failure, he added.

It was to be the first space mission for Mr Hague, who joined Nasa's astronaut corps in 2013.

NASA says it's dusting off its plans for flying the International Space Station without a crew after the aborted launch of a Russian rocket taking two astronauts toward the station.

Recently, the US has been seeking to replace the route with contracts with commercial space companies, such as SpaceX, but the Soyuz now remains the only way to reach the station.

The politician has clashed with the U.S., suggesting American astronauts should use trampolines instead of Russian rockets to reach the ISS after Washington imposed sanctions over Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Elon Musk's SpaceX will be using its Falcon 9 rockets. It was Hague's first rocket launch.

For Boeing, launches are set for March and August 2019.

Russian space officials have said they are investigating whether a hole that caused an oxygen leak on the ISS was drilled deliberately by astronauts.

Those spacewalks had already been delayed after the Japanese cargo vehicle carrying the new batteries ran into a series of launch delays in September.

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