(KTVU & AP) - NASA says an astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut are in good condition after an emergency landing following a booster rocket failure minutes after the launch.
Astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 1:40 a.m. PDT Thursday from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket.
They were to dock at the International Space Station six hours later, but the booster suffered engine failure minutes after the launch.
NASA said it has been informed by Russian space officials that the crew has made an emergency landing at an unspecified location in Kazakhstan and is in good condition. Search and rescue crews are heading to the landing site.
The search and rescue teams have reached the Soyuz spacecraft landing site and report that the two crew members are in good condition and are out of the capsule. Search and rescue teams are with the crew now. Latest updates: https://t.co/mzKW5uDsTi pic.twitter.com/WzomVblhtI— NASA (@NASA) October 11, 2018
the launch failure marks an unprecedented mishap for the Russian space program, which has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents.
"Thank God, the crew is alive," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when it became clear that the crew had landed safely.
It's the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013. Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential vote, but Russia and the U.S. have maintained cooperation in space.