NASA chief: Soyuz-crash probe will 'go swiftly,' keeping launches on schedule

Selfie of Mars Curiosity rover

The Russian capsule experienced a booster problem which meant the two-man crew's six-month mission to the International Space Station has had to be delayed.

After the booster failed, Ovchinin and Hague were forced to make a ballistic descent, coming back to the ground at a sharper angle than normal and causing higher gravitational forces on their bodies.

Nasa astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, the U.S. space agency and Russia's Roscosmos said.

NASA's top official said it was unlikely the Russian rocket failure would speed up development of those rockets because work on them was already flat out, but said it underlined the need for the world to have more than one way of getting to the ISS.

During a news conference on Thursday, International Space Station Operations Integration Manager Kenny Todd said that should the crew need to leave the station before a replacement crew could be sent up, the station could be piloted remotely.

He added that a "thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted".

The capsule carrying the men then separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made "a steep ballistic descent to Earth with parachutes helping slow its speed".

Roscosmos pledged to fully share all relevant information with NASA, which pays up to $82 million per Soyuz seat to the space station.

The launch took place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:40 pm.

"The boys will certainly fly their mission", Rogozin tweeted, posting a picture in which he sits with the two astronauts aboard a Moscow-bound plane.

Roscosmos has launched an inquiry into the accident and all Russian manned launches have been suspended, the report said. Just over a minute after the launch, the spacecraft's booster failed and the launch was aborted.

Both are scheduled to return to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, today; Hague is expected to fly home to Houston next week. The agency said the rescue crews were preparing to return them to Moscow, and Roscosmos released still images of the two crew members receiving medical evaluation in Kazakhstan. But it was a very good day when the crews came home alive.

The investigation into a mysterious hole on a Russian ISS module has been left on a cliffhanger as several spacewalks had to be scrapped after a Soyuz rocket failed to bring two crewmembers aboard the station. Bridenstine told reporters he didn't expect political differences to impinge. Despite its age, the Soyuz platform has been an extremely reliable mode of transportation to space.

Mr Bridenstine also praised the two crew members and said, 'It's awesome everyone came home safely.

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