The Russian Defense Ministry has released footage of two astronauts returning to the launch site following an emergency landing less that two minutes into a flight that was supposed to take them to the International Space Station.
NASA's Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin jettisoned in a rescue capsule from their Soyuz rocket shortly after Thursday'slaunch from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.
Sergei Krikalyov, the head of Roscosmos' manned programmes, said the launch went awry after one of the rocket's four boosters failed to jettison about two minutes into the flight, damaging the main stage and triggering the emergency landing.
He said a panel of experts is looking into the specific reason that prevented the booster's separation.
Krikalyov said all Soyuz launches have been suspended pending the investigation.
US and Russian space officials said the astronauts were in good condition even though they experienced a gravitational force that was six-to-seven times more than is felt on Earth when their capsule went into a steep, harrowing fall back to ground.
Russian space officials said Hague and Rogozin will spend a couple of days at Star City, Russia's main space training centre outside Moscow, undergoing routine medical checks.
The aborted mission dealt another blow to the troubled Russian space programme that currently serves as the only way to deliver astronauts to the orbiting outpost.
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