US, Russia space crew aborts mission after booster failure

A NASA astronaut and Russian cosmonaut made an emergency landing Thursday morning after a Soyuz rocket carrying them to the International Space Station failed mid-air.

NASA's Nick Hague, flying for the first time, and Aleksey Ovchinin of Roscosmos blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just before 10am.

After the malfunction they were forced to return to Earth in a process known as a "ballistic re-entry", during which they experienced forces of up to 7G.

The US space agency Nasa said there was an "issue with the booster". Following the launch, live coverage will resume near the end of their 6-hour voyage at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), as the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft prepares to dock at the station's Poisk module. Soyuz is now the only means for crews to travel to and from the station, with commercial crew vehicles by Boeing and SpaceX not expected to be ready to enter service before the middle of 2019.

"Teams have been in contact with the crew".

A Soyuz rocket carrying the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 a.m.

IFAX reported that the two astronauts were alive and were expected to land in Kazakhstan.

Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.

It was the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013.

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