Space crew survives plunge to Earth after Russian rocket fails

| October 11, 2018

russian launch

October 11, 2018

By Shamil Zhumatov

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Reuters) – The two-man U.S.-Russian crew of a Soyuz spacecraft en route to the International Space Station was forced to make a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan on Thursday when their rocket failed in mid-air.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without harm and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, NASA, the U.S. space agency, and Russia’s Roscosmos said.

Seems the second stage engine failed to ignite upon first stage separation. The Soyuz capsule carrying the two men then separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made what NASA called a “steep ballistic descent” to Earth. The crew experienced loads of up to 7Gs on the descent.

Russian recovery crews dispatched from Baikonur aboard helicopters reached Ovchinin and Hague by radio before arriving at the landing site and reported both crew members were in good shape. Photographs later were posted by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, showing both men relaxing in Dzhezkazgan, chatting with support personnel.

It was not immediately known what might have gone wrong with the Soyuz FG booster, but Dmitri Rogozin, director general of Roscosmos, said a State Commission would investigate the mishap, adding in a tweet “the Soyuz MS emergency rescue system worked. The crew is saved.

The failure is a setback for the Russian space program, and the latest in a string of mishaps. Time for SpaceX to step up to the next level, and provide manned missions to the ISS.

The entire article may be viewed Here.

Category: Blue Skies, It's science!

Comments (37)

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  1. BlueCord Dad says:

    Was it built on a Friday or Monday?
    Glad they both got back okay.

  2. Thank God that they landed safely. This never happened to Rocky Jones, Capt. Video, Buck Rogers, Capt Midnight and Flash Gordon.

  3. I wonder if they were playing Guided Missles on their Victrola by the Cuff Links (1956) on the way down.

  4. Mason says:

    That has got to be one terrifying ride down. “Spam in a can” at that point.

  5. OWB says:

    Word is that the guys who would have returned may have to wait until January now.

  6. 26Limabeans says:

    Blew the first to second gear shift.
    Should have double clutched.

  7. OldManchu says:

    That’s more than can be said of DB. His re-entry plan didn’t work so well.

  8. Club Manager, USA ret. says:

    Talk about butt puckering moments. Good book deal for sure.

  9. OldManchu says:

    Just think somewhere in Russia there will be a stolen valor asshole…

    “No shit, there I was pulling 7G…”

  10. Reaperman says:

    I really enjoyed NPR’s use of quotes and “air quotes” in their version of this story. The russians are probably still cleaning poop out of that capsule–or worse the inside of the space helmets.

    “The capsule made a “ballistic landing” and rescue teams recovered the pair, who are reportedly in “good condition,” NASA says. … A NASA TV commentator at Mission Control Center in Houston describes a ballistic descent or landing as coming in “at a sharper angle to land than we normally land at. And that means that the crew inside experiences higher G-force loads as they go through the landing.” ”

    • SFC D says:

      How high is the bounce on a “ballistic landing”?

    • CCO says:

      Ballistic is the correct term, or as Tom Hanks put in it the movie “Apollo 13” —Sir Isaac Newton [was] in the driver’s seat. That is, they fell. And to add to the disappointment the rookie didn’t make it to space (by altitude) so (by some rules) can’t get gold wings.

  11. ChipNASA says:

    This was Nick Hague’s first attempt to go into space.

    OWB says:
    “Word is that the guys who would have returned may have to wait until January now.

    If that were me, I’d be all like, “Well, *THAT* was fun, Nope. FUCK IT, I’m good…..” BYE!!!

  12. The Other Whitey says:

    It’s about time we stopped having to bum rides off the Russians to get into space (Thanks, Obama! ).

    • AW1Ed says:

      Past time, TOW. The Rooskis are gouging us to the tune of, are you sitting down?
      $70.7 Million in USD for a seat on the Soyuz capsule.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      That ‘snap’ sound you hear should be the clasp snapping shut on my pocketbook.

    • Fyrfighter says:

      I just read something recently that both Space-X, and i believe Boeing have platforms that are scheduled to make their first manned flights in 2019… So we may be back on the right track.. hmm, i wonder how we could have made such a turnaround in just a couple years… did some big event take place, ooh, I don’t know, around the end of 2016?

  13. Hondo says:

    Well, I guess the American in the crew now knows the Russian phrase for, “I need clean skivvies” – and vice-versa. (smile)

    Seriously: glad they made it down alive. That’s never guaranteed on any space flight.

  14. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    This it the second “incident” involving the Russian Manned space program – there was a leak in the ISS that was found to be in one of the modules of the Soyuz spacecraft that it currently docked to the station.

    The Russians are launching a “criminal investigation” into today’s abort:

    • Mason says:

      Hopefully they find someone more efficient than Mueller. If not, another Soyuz might not launch until 2021.

  15. Sapper3307 says:

    SpecForce was on standby. Ejecting from a space ship is a very smale club, congrats.

  16. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    This is big news. First time ever, at least widely reported. This procedure to return to earth after failure to reach exit velocity of 17,000 + MPH is NOT easy.

    I throw a bone to the Ruskies and NASA for having solid procedures and training.

    Space Geek Out!

    PS: Space Shuttle procedure post 1986 Challenger incident was to exit Shuttle via d-ring attached to pressurized flight suit, slide down j-shaped hoop to clear vehicle and fall to earth with USAF PJ’s under canopy tracking on their target path.

  17. 11B-Mailclerk says:


  18. “ISS to Kazakhstan..come you read me ?”
    ALERT..can you call AMTRAK or UBER ..and just ask….”

    CAPT Bones USN (ret)

  19. LTC F says:

    I’m so old I remember when the US was capable of space flight.

  20. Tallywhagger says:

    So I guess that recovery from unusual attitudes for astronauts was introduced at some part of their training. Sheesh, 7Gs ought to damn-near kill you!

    No rudder, no ailerons, no elevator too, whatcha’ gonna’do wit’ dem failed rocket blues?

    Were it me, I’d probably call the Coast Guard–those guys can fly in anything!

  21. PLASTIC DUCK says:

    Maybe the Russians have virtually new, unburt space capsule for sale?