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Russian, US astronauts fall to earth in 'ballistic descent' after failed launch to space station

Alex Lockie
Russian, US astronauts fall to earth in 'ballistic descent' after failed launch to space station
  • A Soyuz rocket intended to carry a Russian cosmonaut and a US astronaut failed during launch and plummeted back to earth in the skies above Kazakstan on Thursday morning.
  • Luckily, rescuers maintained contact and reached the downed men before helicoptering them back to safety.
  • The rocket's boosters failed high in earth's atmosphere en route to the International Space Station, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.

A Soyuz rocket intended to carry Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and a US astronaut Nick Hague failed during launch and plummeted back to earth in the skies above Kazakstan on Thursday morning.

Luckily, rescuers maintained contact and reached the downed men before helicoptering them back to saftey.

The rocket's boosters failed high in earth's atmosphere en route to the International Space Station, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.

The US currently only has access to the space station via Russia's Soyuz rocket, which is normally dependable.

NASA said that the crew was safe and was making an emergency landing in Kazakhstan where the unsuccessful launch took place. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted," NASA administrator Jim Birdenstine tweeted.

"The crew is returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode," wrote NASA, noting that the descent would take place at a steeper angle than usual, but that rescue crews were en route to the expected scene of the landing.

Video of the incident shows the boosters abruptly quitting and the men being violently jerked within the spaceship.

The crew remains in good condition and in touch with ground rescue teams, according to NASA.

International groups of astronauts often accompany each other to the International Space Station in joint launches.

Watch live updates from NASA here.