NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin were safe after an emergency landing Thursday in the steppes of Kazakhstan. The two lifted off as scheduled at 4:40 a.m. ET and were to dock at the International Space Station six hours later. The three-stage Soyuz booster suffered an emergency shutdown of its second stage, minutes after the launch. The capsule jettisoned from the booster and went into a ballistic descent, landing at a sharper than normal angle and subjecting the crew to heavy G-loads.
Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin and NASA’s astronaut Nick Hague
Footage from inside the Soyuz showed the two men being shaken around at the moment the failure occurred, with their arms and legs flailing.The capsule landed about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Roscosmos State Space Corporation, tweeted: “The crew has landed. Everybody is alive.” Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident. “Thank God, the crew is alive,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin spokesman Dmitri Peskov. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov on Thursday said he hoped the US would understand the situation, adding that space travel will be suspended pending the investigation.