Astronauts will go BACK into orbit after mid-air rocket failure

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Two astronauts who survived the mid-air failure of a Russian rocket will fly again – and could be back in orbit by early 2019.

Cosmonauts Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Hague will provisionally travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring of next year.

That’s according to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos.

His comments come just one day after the men made a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan following the failure of Russia’s ambitious Soyuz rocket. 

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NASA astronaut Nick Hague (right) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin (left) will provisionally travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring 2019

NASA astronaut Nick Hague (right) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin (left) will provisionally travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring 2019

Mr Rogozin posted a picture on Twitter of himself sat next to the two astronauts and said they had now arrived in Moscow, hours after their ballistic re-entry. 

Video footage from the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome shows a large plume of smoke coming from the rocket at the moment it failed and footage from inside the capsule shows the two astronauts being violently shaken about.  

The mishap occurred as the first and second stages of a Russian rocket separated shortly after the launch from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur.

Both men escaped unscathed and feel fine, Roscosmos has said.

Thursday’s accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launch pad explosion.

The Interfax news agency cited a source familiar with the Russian investigation as saying that a faulty valve had caused the first stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket to malfunction even though the valve had been properly checked before take-off.

A view of the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule crash landed on the Kazakh steppe on Thursday. Rescuers who rushed to the aid of the two stranded astronauts took the revealing photo showing the stricken capsule lying on its side after the aborted mission

A view of the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule crash landed on the Kazakh steppe on Thursday. Rescuers who rushed to the aid of the two stranded astronauts took the revealing photo showing the stricken capsule lying on its side after the aborted mission

Alexey Ovchinin (center left) of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Nick Hague (center right) of NASA, embrace their families after landing at the Krayniy Airport in Baikonur, Kazakhstan after their aborted mission

Alexey Ovchinin (center left) of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Nick Hague (center right) of NASA, embrace their families after landing at the Krayniy Airport in Baikonur, Kazakhstan after their aborted mission

In 2002 a booster rocket malfunctioned and the rocket which was carrying a satellite crashed in Kazakhstan killing one person on the ground.

In total Soyuz rockets have been launched 745 times of which 21 have failed. 

Thirteen of those failures have been since 2010, calling into question the continued reliability of the rocket. 

Moscow has suspended all manned space launches, while Rogozin has ordered a state commission to investigate what went wrong. Russia’s Investigative Committee has also opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

Over the past few years the Russian space industry has suffered a series of problems including the loss of a number of satellites and other spacecraft. 

How do you make an emergency landing in a Soyuz rocket? Two astronauts’ dramatic 7G, 4,970mph ballistic re-entry

The astronauts of the Soyuz MS-10 are said to have switched into ‘ballistic descent mode’ once they were notified of the second stage booster fault.

This means the core automatically separated from the faulty booster and turned back to Earth.

The rocket came in at a much sharper angle than normal, allowing the craft to head as quickly as possible to the ground.

It is believed the rocket was travelling at more than 8,000 miles per hour (12,800kph) during its descent.

The astronauts would have experienced G-force pressure as high as 7Gs.

Rockets use boosters to provide the thrust they need to launch from Earth and breech the atmosphere.

They set the trajectory for the flight, and if they aren’t running at full capacity could send the rocket in completely the wrong direction.

The Soyuz MS-10 rocket had four first-stage boosters strapped to its central core, which housed the second stage booster.

A booster can fail for any number of reasons, including incorrect fuelling, mechanical faults, computer glitches and more.

In the event of a booster failure, mission control will normally cancel the flight to avoid endangering the astronauts on board.

The rocket is put into an emergency landing procedure in which the main module – holding all cargo and any astronauts on board – separates from the rocket early. 

Glitches found in Russia’s Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws at the plant in Voronezh. 

Roscosmos sent more than 70 rocket engines back to production lines to replace faulty components, a move that resulted in a yearlong break in Proton launches and badly dented Russia’s niche in the global market for commercial satellite launches. 

In 2002, a Soyuz ship carrying a satellite crashed during launch in Russia when a booster suffered an engine malfunction, killing one engineer on the ground. 

Only last month a hole was discovered in the International Space Station which Roscosmos claimed was drilled deliberately. 

The pair had been due to dock at the International Space Station six hours after the launch but an issue just three minutes in prevented them from continuing

The pair had been due to dock at the International Space Station six hours after the launch but an issue just three minutes in prevented them from continuing

NASA has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the United States retired its Space Shuttle programme in 2011, although the agency has announced plans for a test flight carrying two astronauts on a SpaceX commercial rocket next April.

Space is an area of cooperation between the United States and Russia at a time of fraught relations. 

Asked about the latest mishap, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he was ‘not worried’ that American astronauts have to rely on Russia to get into space.



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