Soyuz makes emergency landing after engine problem

Jan Cross
October 14, 2018

Russia's Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome on October 11, 2018.

A search-and-rescue team has reached the landing site, both crewmembers are in good condition and have left the Soyuz capsule as of 6:10 a.m. EDT, NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said during live television commentary. The probe would seek to determine whether safety regulations had been violated during construction, leading to massive damage, the Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement.

But he said a replacement space station crew would need to be in place before SpaceX or Boeing demo launches next year. The agency is waiting for both Boeing and SpaceX to deliver home-grown spacecraft so it no longer has to rely on Russian Federation to send supplies and crew to the ISS. Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad, surviving without injuries.

The failure undoubtedly has major implications for the far future of the space station program, and even in more immediate terms, this will likely change how the station runs for the time being, with two fewer crewmembers than expected.

The failed launch earned scathing criticism from the usually pliant Russian media.

Then as now, however, NASA emphasized that the landing itself wasn't out of control, but rather it was one of several backup modes that crews train for and for which the spacecraft is designed.

Manned space launches have been suspended pending an investigation.

In August, the crew found a hole in a Russian Soyuz capsule docked to the orbiting space station.

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The two crew members who aborted were ready to fly again, he said. Something went wrong during the separation between the first and second stages of the booster.

The emergency landing could become one of the biggest payouts for Russian insurance firm Soglasie in decades if it turns out to be an insurance case, Soglasie was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

While the Soyuz rocket is considered a reliable launch vehicle in the space sector, this is not the first failure in the Soyuz program's history.

Russian officials are investigating what caused the booster to fail. The leak was quickly repaired, but Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin suggested that the leak was caused by something other than an accident or production defect. The crew landed about 20 kilometers east of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, where rescue crews were scrambled to find them.

Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor, and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev-all of whom arrived at the station in June-are continuing to operate the ISS and conduct "important scientific research".

This morning, the first launch since the possible sabotage was discovered, Russia's Soyuz booster saw its first in-flight failure in recent memory, and the first manned rocket-related emergency in decades.

The rocket's emergency abort system took over at that point, ejecting the Soyuz capsule, which carried the two-man crew on a harrowing ride back down to Earth.

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