NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonaut make emergency landing after Soyuz rocket failure

Rocket carrying space station crew fails in mid-air, crew forced to make emergency landing

A statement issued by NASA said: "The Soyuz MS-10 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 pm in Baikonur)".

The pair was set to dock at the orbiting outpost six hours after launch, but the booster rocket failed minutes after launch.

Nasa said there was an "issue with the booster" and the "crew is returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode". No information about the projected landing location or status of the crew were immediately available.

The rocket took off from Kazakhstan with Russian Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague on board.

The rocket was carrying US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin. Search and rescue crews are getting ready to reach the expected landing site. The current Soyuz on the ISS, Soyus MS-09, launched in June and has an orbital lifetime of about 200 days.

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"The emergency rescue system worked, the vessel was able to land in Kazakhstan ... the crew are alive", Roscosmos said in a tweet.

"Teams have been in contact with the crew".

Ovchinin, 47, is a major in the Russian Air Force who made his first spaceflight 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 US presidential vote, but Russia and the USA have maintained cooperation in space.

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