Investigation starts into dramatic Soyuz rocket breakdown

A capsule carrying the crew of a Russian Soyuz rocket that malfunctioned on lift-off has landed safely in Kazakhstan, Russian media report.

The astronauts were to dock at the International Space Station six hours after the launch, but the Soyuz booster suffered an unspecified failure and shut down minutes after the launch.

The failure put the MS-10 capsule into a ballistic trajectory and it and the crew were recovered 200 miles east of the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch point, NASA said early Thursday.

"We are in communication with the crew at this point and hearing they are in good condition", a NASA spokeswoman in Houston said on the space agency's live video feed of the launch. The launch escape tower activated two seconds before the rocket below the crew exploded, ripping the Soyuz spacecraft away from the inferno as it engulfed the launch pad.

"Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members", NASA said in a statement.

Russian Federation has continued to rely on Soviet-designed booster rockets to launching commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the International Space Station.

The International Space Station - a rare point of cooperation between Moscow and Washington - has been orbiting the Earth since 1998.

International groups of astronauts often accompany each other to the International Space Station in joint launches.

Roscosmos, the Russian firm that operates the nation's space agency and is responsible for Soyuz launches, will not hold any news conferences today.

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Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident, Dean said.

The failure of Soyuz MS-10 has started a domino effect which will deprive the ISS of the five crew members which were scheduled to be aboard by the end of 2018.

Flight controllers kept the three space station residents abreast of the situation after Thursday's aborted launch. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA. NASA and Roscosmos will now need to make an unprecedented decision which could lead to abandoning the International Space Station; the first time it would be left unmanned since the Expedition 1 mission arrived in November 2000.

The pair are in contact with ground control, the space agency said.

Hague and Ovchinin only reached a bit over 6Gs, though.

The last time the Russian space program had a manned launch failure was in 1983.

NASA says that two astronauts from the USA and Russian Federation are in good condition after an emergency landing following booster rocket failure minutes after the launch.

Rockets use boosters to provide the thrust they need to launch from Earth and breech the atmosphere.

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