US Ham-Astronaut, Russian Cosmonaut Safe in Wake of Soyuz Launch Failure

NASA could be forced to fly the International Space Station remotely if the remaining crew members have to leave before the investigation into what caused a failure onboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is completed.

USA and Russian space officials said the astronauts were in good condition even though they experienced a gravitational force that was six-to-seven times more than is felt on Earth when their capsule went into a steep, harrowing fall back to ground.

The Canadian Space Agency said Thursday that it did not know whether the failed launch would affect Saint-Jacques' launch date.

"Even when a failure occurs, because of the engineering and the design and the great work done by folks in Russian Federation, the crew can be safe", he said.

Soyuz flights are suspended while the Russian space agency Roscosmos investigates the cause of the failure.

The crew realised there was a problem when they began to experience a feeling of weightlessness - a sign that the Soyuz, which was travelling at 7,500km per hour, was falling back down to Earth.

Krikalyov said that "in theory" the International Space Station which serves as a scientific lab could remain unmanned but added Russian Federation would do "everything possible not to let this happen".

An American astronaut and his Russian counterpart survived an emergency landing after their rocket failed midair during launch and careened back to Earth in the skies above Kazakhstan yesterday morning. This was Ovchinin's second trip to the station, and Hague's first trip.

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Veteran cosmonaut Krikalyov said that "in theory" the ISS could remain unmanned but added Russian Federation would do "everything possible not to let this happen". American Nick Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin were uninjured, Russian government officials said.

An Orthodox priest who blessed the Russian Soyuz rocket before lift-off has become the main source of mockery on social media after the launch ended in an emergency landing.

Russia's RIA news agency reported that Russian Federation has immediately suspended all manned space launches after 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.

This video shows the launch of the Soyuz MS-10 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential vote, but they have maintained co-operation in space research.

A space walk planned for mid-November has also been cancelled, he said.

While more food and supplies could be sent up to the station, the Soyuz capsule docked there that would take them home has a life expectancy of roughly 200 days in orbit.

  • Douglas Reid