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US, Russian space crew forced to make emergency landing during flight to International Space Station

Two-man crew includes USAFA graduate
Posted at 3:26 AM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-12 00:42:42-04

At approximately 3 a.m. MT on Wednesday, NASA announced a two-man crew headed to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket had to make an emergency landing after a booster failure.

In an update at 3:21 a.m. MT, NASA reported communication with the two-man crew. They are reportedly on the ground and in good condition. A search crew was working to locate them as of 3:21 a.m. MT. The rescue effort was expected to take an hour and a half to complete.

The two-man crew includes American astronaut Nick Hague, who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. It was his first mission. 

Dramatic footage showed the capsule carrying the crew as it parachuted back to Earth before thumping down in a plume of dust in Kazakhstan, about 250 miles away from where it took off, according to CNN. The rocket had launched ar 2:40 a.m. MT from the country's Baikonur Cosmodrome. It was expected to make four orbits around Earth over the course of six hours. The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft separated from the Soyuz-FG rocket booster after the issue emerged, NASA said, and began a ballistic descent.

"I'm grateful that everyone is safe," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told CNN. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted."

Hague and Ovchinin were due to join Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev on the ISS, according to CNN. They arrived at the station in June. That crew is working on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science, according to NASA.