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Astronaut, Cosmonaut Safe After Abort During Launch to International Space Station

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 12, 2018
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Expedition 57 Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, left, and Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA, right. embrace their families after landing at the Krayniy Airport, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are resting comfortably in the city of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, after an anomaly occurred shortly after their launch.

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 p.m. in Baikonur time) carrying Hague and Ovchinin. Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster, and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft.

Search and rescue teams deployed to the landing site, arriving on location before the spacecraft landed. Hague and Ovchinin were recovered from the capsule and were in good condition. The crew landed south of the city of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, and was transported by helicopter to the nearby city. A Roscosmos plane then flew the pair to Baikonur, where they were greeted on the tarmac by their families, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin, and other NASA and Roscosmos officials.

Hague and Ovchinin were taken to a local hospital for precautionary medical checks. They are scheduled to return to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, outside of Moscow, on Friday, Oct. 12. Hague is expected to fly home to Houston next week.

Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev, who arrived at the station in June, were informed of the launch abort and are continuing to operate the station and conduct important scientific research.

Expedition 57 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA, left, is welcomed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine after Hague landed at the Krayniy Airport. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Roscosmos has formed a commission to assess the root cause of the failure, and NASA will support Roscosmos’ investigation into the incident. In parallel, NASA and the International Space Station partners will review upcoming operational schedules, including the plan for two spacewalks targeted later in October.

In an interview, Bridenstine shared his experience witnessing the launch in Kazakhstan, as well as his admiration for the NASA and Roscosmos teams who demonstrated how well prepared and expert they were in responding to the situation. He also gave high praise to Hague’s wife, Catie, for remaining cool under pressure.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview that he was pleased with his team’s response, and that a Russian commission would work to understand the cause of the failure and continue working with NASA and the rest of the international station partner agencies to support continued station operations.

Kenny Todd, International Space Station operations integration manager, shared his thanks with the Russian search and rescue teams in a news conference on NASA Television, praising their professionalism and expertise in doing their jobs quickly and efficiently to ensure the safety of the crew. He noted the station is well-supplied for the Expedition 57 crew members who are on board. Deputy Chief Astronaut Reid Wiseman noted that the safe return of the crew members is good news, demonstrating that the safety systems worked as designed, and the teams performed as they have practiced, to ensure the safety of Hague and Ovchinin.

Visit the Expedition 57 Flickr for photos from the day’s events.

For video replays from the launch go to:

For complete coverage and continuing updates, go to:

10 responses to “Astronaut, Cosmonaut Safe After Abort During Launch to International Space Station”

  1. JS Initials says:

    Neil Armstrong & David Scott must have appreciated a similar welcoming return to Houston after their nearly fatal Gemini 8 mission. See the movie! It is GREAT!!!!..The movie, “FIRST MAN” is now showing in glorious IMAX, coincidently around the same time this aborted Soyuz mission took place. The biopic of Neil Armstrong is the BEST space movie EVER MADE!! Easily better than “The Right Stuff”, better than “Apollo 13”, better than “Lost”.or the “Martian”.
    Just one warning: the cabin scene for the Apollo 1 rehearsal will kick you in the stomach when the oxygen fire erupts….There’s no worse way to die than by… fire.
    My favorite scene was near the end with an authentic and moving panoramic panning view to the lunar horizon at Tranquility Base….It is magnificent desolation.

  2. AdmBenson says:

    Every launch abort should end this way with the astronauts safely on the ground. Soyuz is a safe system which is why it is still in use and the space shuttle is not.

    • ThomasLMatula says:

      Yes, sure. Tell that to the families of the four cosmonauts who died in accidents on the Soyuz. Like the Shuttle folks had to die in it to find the faults in it.

      The only difference is that the Russians are smart enough to keep using something once they fix it, while NASA always throws it away and starts over, as it did with both Apollo and the Shuttle, and now is starting over again with Orion.

      • AdmBenson says:

        Soyuz was fixable and the last fatal accident with it occurred in 1971. The space shuttle couldn’t really be fixed without some severe re-engineering and the inclusion of an “escape pod” as the abort of last resort. Personally, I think Von Braun and company had manned spaceflight correctly nailed down in the 60’s with the Saturn series of rockets. Had those not been replaced by the shuttle, a return to the moon and flights to Mars would have happened already, and without a lot of dead astronauts.

        By the way, safety will always be a critical issue in manned spaceflight. There are really two ways to handle it:

        1) Fail friendly – Stuff is going to happen, therefore incorporate that into design and planning, or

        2) Don’t fail – The stuff that might happen is unthinkable, therefore the safety measures are designed to make that stuff extremely unlikely to happen.

        Sometimes you can’t avoid #2, which is why commercial aircraft don’t provide parachutes to anybody aboard. But, if you can go with #1, it really is the better way.

  3. Jeff2Space says:

    The real problem here is the recently high failure rate of the Soyuz launch vehicle. During the ISS program, the Soyuz launch vehicle has failed on three Progress resupply vessel flights and one Soyuz crew flight.

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