A Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut were recovered unharmed early Thursday after the Soyuz booster they were aboard on a launch to the International Space Station failed. The failure put the MS-10 capsule into a ballistic trajectory and it and the crew were recovered 200 miles east of the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch point, NASA said early Thursday.
The space agency said American Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin weren’t injured and crews reached them shortly after the booster malfunctioned at an undisclosed altitude 123 seconds into the launch sequence. The capsule separated and recovered in a ballistic trajectory that the Russian space agency said exposed the crew to about 6.7 G’s. The recovery parachutes deployed normally.
The Soyuz system has a long history of reliable launches. The last failure of a manned Soyuz launch was in 1983 when a booster exploded. Cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov separated the capsule and landed safely near the launchpad. More recently, in 2011, an uncrewed Soyuz-U on a supply mission to the ISS crashed after failing to reach orbit. The Soyuz-U was retired last year and the FG model is still used to ferry astronauts to the ISS. Three crew are currently aboard the station and were due to return in December. That mission will now be postponed until early next year, space officials said.