Soyuz rocket carrying astronauts forced into emergency landing after malfunction

Something went wrong during the separation of the booster and the capsule containing the two crew members started tumbling back down to earth, violently shaking the men.

Head of Russian space agency Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin (C) poses with astronauts Alexey Ovchinin of Russia and Nick Hague of the US, who survived the mid-air failure of a Russian rocket, on onboard a plane during a flight to Chkalovsky airport near Star City outside Moscow, Russia October 12, 2018.

A Russian rocket carrying an American and a Russian to the International Space Station failed on launch Thursday, forcing the astronaut and cosmonaut to careen back to Earth in a dramatic emergency landing.

The head of Russia's space agency said on Friday that two astronauts who survived the mid-air failure of a Russian rocket would fly again and would provisionally travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring of next year.

Two astronauts from the US and Russia were safe after an emergency landing Thursday in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station.

NASA said that rescue teams have reached Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin and they have been taken out of the capsule and were in good condition.

The pair landed about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

The launch failure raises questions about the continued reliability of Russia's Soyuz launch system, which lost a cargo spacecraft at the end of 2016 and sent a Soyuz capsule with a hole in it to the ISS earlier this year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have been told about the accident.

"The crew landed", Dmitry Rogozin, director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said on Twitter.

There was no immediate word on whether Mr Gertz and the current space station crew might need to extend their own six-month missions. The last one returned to Earth on October 4, carrying NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, after their 197-day mission in space.

They would have joined Commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev, who arrived at the ISS in June.

The three astronauts now on board the space station have been informed of the failed launch and their schedule for the day is being reshuffled, since they'll no longer be able to greet the incoming duo.

Search and rescue teams were deployed to the landing site.

RIA news agency, citing its own source, reported that Russian Federation had chose to suspend all manned space launches following the "Soyuz" failure. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of the SpaceX's Dragon v2 and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

Russian Federation has continued to rely on Soviet-designed booster rockets for launching commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the International Space Station.

This type of Soyuz rocket has been flying people to space since 2001, and until now, it has never failed, according to Space News. The Soyuz is seen climbing normally towards space, and the NASA representative that comments the launch live is heard saying several times that everything is well and all is proceeding as planned. Horrifyingly, a hole was recently discovered on a different Soyuz capsule, the MS-09, that was attached to the International Space Station in late August.

  • Essie Rivera