Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague before the launch. Image Credit: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 NASA
Two astronauts narrowly escaped disaster today when their Soyuz rocket developed a problem with its booster.
Russian Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague had been heading up to the International Space Station from a launch site in Kazakhstan when the incident occurred.
"The Soyuz capsule is returning to Earth via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal," NASA wrote as events unfolded. "Search and rescue teams are heading towards the expected touchdown location of the spacecraft and crew. "
Fortunately the capsule managed to land safely in a remote region of Kazakhstan and contact has since been made with the two crew members who have reported that they are unharmed.
It isn't clear exactly what went wrong with the booster during launch and it is likely that an extensive investigation will have to be carried out before any more launches can be attempted.
This means that the ISS will be stuck with only three crew members for the foreseeable future.
The last time a Soyuz made an emergency landing was all the way back in 1975.
Source: BBC News | Comments (57)