Rocket carrying space station crew fails in mid-air, crew safe: Agencies

Cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague at the pre-launch ceremony in Kazakhstan

Cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague at the pre-launch ceremony in Kazakhstan

The US space agency Nasa said there was an "issue with the booster".

Agencies cited sources as saying that the crew was safe and was making an emergency landing in Kazakhstan where Thursday's unsuccessful launch took place.

Riding atop a Russian Soyuz rocket, the rookie NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 a.m. EDT (0840 GMT; 2:40 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

"The crew are in good condition and in contact". Their Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft will arrive at the space station after a quick, 6-hour or "fast track" rendezvous rather than the traditional, two-day route.

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Earlier NASA warned the Soyuz capsule was returning to Earth "via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal".

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, a back-up crew member, is part of the crew set for the next scheduled-Russian Soyuz launch in December. Search and rescue crews are getting ready to reach the expected landing site.

Roscosmos tweeted: "During the launch of the ship # SoyuzMS10, an abnormal situation occurred".

"Rescuers have already moved to the search and evacuation of Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Haig (sic)".

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