Astronauts on board a Soyuz rocket heading to the International Space Station survived an emergency landing following a booster failure, a Russian space official said Thursday.
“The crew landed,” Dmitry Rogozin, director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said on Twitter. “All are alive.”
The rocket was transporting NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos for a six-month stay on the ISS.
NASA and Roscosmos said search-and-rescue teams were in contact with the crew and en route to the landing location.
The crew “report they are in good condition,” NASA said.
.@AstroHague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin landed safely on Earth after a booster on their Soyuz rocket failed earlier. They are reported in good condition. Search and rescue crews are with them and preparing them for a return to Moscow. Latest updates: https://t.co/mzKW5uDsTi pic.twitter.com/ea8GJTAWzr
— NASA (@NASA) October 11, 2018
According to the state news agency RIA Novosti and Russian state television at the launch site, the crew parachuted to Earth in an emergency landing in Kazakhstan.
The rocket had lifted off at 4:40 a.m. ET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a journey that was expected to involve four orbits of the Earth and take six hours.
NASA earlier tweeted that there had been an issue with the booster and that its teams were heading towards the expected touchdown location.
“Teams have been in contact with the crew. Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today’s launch,” the agency said.
“The crew is returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode. Teams are working to obtain additional information from our Russian partners. Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members.”
The ballistic descent is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal, NASA said.