Space Station Crew Stranded in Orbit After Soyuz Failure

The Soyuz rocket that Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin were heading off in to the International Space Station failed two minutes after Thursday's launch, releasing a rescue capsule that carried them back to Earth.

Russian crews are collecting pieces of rocket debris in the desert of Kazakhstan a day after two astronauts survived an emergency landing when a Russian rocket failed mid-launch, however, the head of the agency says both crew will launch again.

"Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today's launch", the agency said.

NASA said flight controllers could operate the space station without anyone on board if the Russian rockets remain grounded.

Soyuz flights are suspended while the Russian space agency Roscosmos investigates the cause of the failure.

Russian space officials said Mr Hague and Mr Rogozin will spend a couple of days at Star City, Russia's main space training centre outside Moscow, undergoing routine medical checks.

The crew safely returned to Earth in a jettisoned escape capsule.

"If you abandon the space station, then there's no one there to fix things as they fail - and they'll eventually have a serious problem", he said.

American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are "resting comfortably" after making an emergency landing of their launch capsule.

The launch took place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:40 pm.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield told Euronews the three people now on the station (Alexander Gerst, Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Sergey Prokopyev) are essentially stuck there until a spaceship can be launched to get them.

"When asked about the accident, Trump said on Thursday that he was "not at all worried" that Americans had to rely on Russians to go to space".

The pair were recovered from the capsule "in good condition", according to NASA.

US and Russian space officials said the astronauts are in good condition after Thursday's aborted launch.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesman, put it more bluntly in his daily conference call with journalists: "Thank God everyone is alive".

Thursday's aborted launch took place in the presence of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine who was visiting Russian Federation and Baikonur this week. Despite its age, the Soyuz platform has been an extremely reliable mode of transportation to space.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential vote, but they have kept cooperating in space.

"That relationship is strong, and whatever happens terrestrially, we've always been able to keep space exploration and discovery and science separate from whatever terrestrial disputes there may be", he said.


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