Soyuz MS-10: Russian spacecraft makes emergency landing on Earth

The last failure of a Soyuz in flight was 18a in 1975, which subjected the crew to forces up to 21G as the capsule was flung back to earth after the stages of the booster failed to separate properly. "Central time", Dean reported.

US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without harm and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, NASA, the USA space agency, and Russia's Roscosmos said.

While the initial launch at 04:40am ET was successful, the problem with the booster soon became apparent. Officials said the pair was in contact with rescue forces deployed via helicopter to their landing point some 200 miles from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Thursday morning.

The crew remains in good condition and in touch with ground rescue teams, according to NASA.

What happens next: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted a statement in which he confirmed that the crew was safe and that NASA was monitoring the situation carefully. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA. "A state commission has been established to investigate the causes" of the failure, he added.

Details are still coming in.

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NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, members of the International Space Station expedition 57/58, board the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft prior to launch.

The International Space Station, a rare point of cooperation between Moscow and Washington, has been orbiting the Earth at roughly 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998 and will mark its 20th birthday in November.

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

What went wrong? The Russian Soyuz rocket malfunctioned on lift-off. With this accident, and the potentially lengthy investigation that will follow, they could remain on the station for significantly longer.

The abort mode was not improvised, and is a standing contingency for crewed missions to the ISS.

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