A normally reliable Soyuz FG rocket malfunctioned two minutes after liftoff from Kazakhstan Thursday, forcing a Russian cosmonaut and his NASA crewmate to execute an emergency abort and a steep-but-safe return to Earth a few hundred miles from the launch site. Russian recovery crews reported the crew came through the ordeal in good shape.
Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague landed safely downrange in Kazakhstan on Thursday after a Soyuz booster failure cut short their ascent into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome toward the International Space Station. The emergency landing was the first Soyuz in-flight abort since 1975.
A Russian Soyuz ferry ship carrying a Russian cosmonaut and two NASA astronauts undocked from the International Space Station early Thursday, flew a lap around the 20-year-old outpost for a photo survey and then plunged back to Earth, making a pinpoint landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan to wrap up a 197-day stay in space.
Two U.S. astronauts flanked a veteran Russian cosmonaut Thursday for a ride back to Earth from the International Space Station. The trio undocked from the station in their Soyuz spacecraft at 0757 GMT (3:57 a.m. EDT), beginning a return flight that culminated in a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 1145 GMT (7:45 a.m. EDT).