Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Tense moments but calm crew in aborted launch — NASA official

Astronauts from U.S. Russia make emergency landing in Soyuz rocket after booster fails A Russian booster rocket carrying two astronauts faltered Thursday
Elijah Vega | 13 October, 2018, 15:32

The current space station crew of an American, a Russian and a German was scheduled to return to Earth in December after a six-month mission.

It was the first such incident in Russia's post-Soviet history - an unprecedented setback for the country's space industry.

US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin had made it about halfway to space before suddenly going the other direction.

The capsule landed about 12 miles east of the city of Dzhezkazgan.

"It is impossible to draw any conclusions now", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Russian Federation has suspended manned flights pending an investigation of the latest failure.

New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who watched the launch at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome along with his Russian counterpart, said Hague and Ovchinin were in good condition. He added that a "thorough investigation" will be conducted.

"An accident with the booster, two minutes, 45 seconds", the voice of Ovchinin could be heard saying calmly in live-streamed footage of the launch from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome.

The two astronauts reportedly felt "weightlessness" as the crew capsule detached. A cloud of sand billowed up as the capsule came down on the desert steppe. Interfax said they would spend one night in hospital. The teams are now searching for the crew. Since 2012, SpaceX has launched satellites for NASA, and has carried out 16 resupply missions to the space station.

Hague is a colonel in the Air Force.

Officials investigating the failed launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft believe they are "clear" on what caused the accident. "They will be transported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia outside of Moscow", NASA said.

It was to be the first space mission for Mr Hague, who joined Nasa's astronaut corps in 2013. Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.

Flight controllers kept the three space station residents informed, assuring them, "The boys have landed". Rogozin has said it could have been "sabotage". "And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind". Robotic cargo launches using USA -built resupply ships are also scheduled to deliver more supplies to the station in the next two months. Hague was supposed to be one of the spacewalkers.

Kenny Todd, a space station manager, said from Houston that the space station crew can stay on board until January. Their Soyuz capsule is good for about 200 days in orbit.

The hole was detected in August and quickly sealed up, but Russian newspapers said Roscosmos was probing the possibility that USA crewmates had sabotaged the space station to get a sick colleague sent back home. It could operate like that for a long time, barring a major equipment failure, he said. Given that the space station is a $100 billion asset, Todd says it needs to have someone on board for the arrival of the commercial demo missions, for safety reasons.

World’s Longest Flight Makes A Comeback, Without Cattle Class
For those not packing a weighty novel (or two), there will be 1,200 hours of audio-visual entertainment to choose from. Singapore previously operated the route using Airbus A340-500 airliners before suspending the service in 2013.

Borisov said Russian Federation will fully share all relevant information with the USA, which pays up to $82 million per ride to the space station.

NASA's Bridenstine emphasized that collaboration with Roscosmos remains important.

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 United States presidential vote, but they have maintained cooperation in space research.

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.

"You can look back at the decisions that were made, like retiring the shuttle, like Congress not providing the funding in the first years of commercial crew, which has delayed the availability of SpaceX and Boeing".

The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, on Twitter pledged that the two men would still make it to the ISS. He didn't say if he suspected any of the station's crew.

"But never in the 20-year history of the ISS program has a manned Soyuz rocket experienced a problem on launch".

"It's an unpleasant situation", Titov told the Tass news agency Thursday. "This is a very hard business that we're in".

The launch took place one week after three members of the ISS crew returned to Earth.

The crew endured higher than normal G-force, but Russian and USA space officials said they were in good condition.

While the rocket would normally be carrying three people, the third space was instead used for cargo to be taken up to the space station.

While Russian rockets had earned a stellar reputation for their reliability in the past, a string of failed launches in recent years has called into doubt Russia's ability to maintain the same high standards of manufacturing.

A Progress rocket was lost in the atmosphere in December 2016.

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