Astronauts are to make an emergency landing after their Russian Soyuz rocket malfunctioned on lift-off to the International Space Station, BBC reported.
Alexey Ovchinin and his America colleague Nick Hague are reported to be “in good condition”, confirmed the Russian state media. The astronauts were due to spend six months on the station working on a number of scientific experiments, said NASA.
According to NASA, there was an “issue with the booster” and Soyuz astronauts are returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode. Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location. The rocket took off from Kazakhstan with Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague on board.
The experts say that Soyuz is one of the oldest rocket designs but also one of the safest. Nobody guarantees the errors or technical misunderstandings. Soyuz malfunction appeared to occur around what is termed “staging”, where the ascending vehicle goes through the process of discarding its empty fuel segments.
However, Russian-made Soyuz event definitely heightens the concerns and underlines to the US especially the need to bring online new rocket systems. These vehicles, produced by the Boeing and SpaceX companies, are set to make their debut next year.