Rocket fails, astronauts land safely

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague (right) and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station, walk prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, 11 October 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — An American and Russian astronauts made an emergency landing Thursday shortly after lift-off as the rocket that was supposed to take them to the International Space Station (ISS) malfunctioned.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin will be flown to Moscow after the emergency landing, US space agency NASA said.

The two landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the ISS.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement that Hague and Ovchinin are in good condition and will be transported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City outside Moscow.

An investigation into the cause of the rocket failure will be conducted.

Pending the probe, Russia is suspending manned space launches, according to a senior Cabinet official.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that the Soyuz capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster when it failed 123 seconds after the launch from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

p: wjg