Astronauts make emergency landing after rocket malfunction

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NASA and Roscosmos said search-and-rescue teams were in contact with the crew and en route to the landing location.

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

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that the Soyuz capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster when it failed 123 seconds after the launch from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The incident came as the rocket was travelling about 7,563km/h, just 119 seconds into the voyage, according to NASA.

That's a diplomatic way to say the Russian booster failed, forcing the crew to perform a risky launch abort.

NASA TV begins its live broadcast Thursday at 3:30 the crew counts down to its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. "As you can see, everything is calm on board; we are living in peace and friendship as always", he said.

"That was a short flight".

Rescue crews are now heading towards the emergency landing site in the barren Kazakh steppe to provide support for the crew.

Once separated during an emergency landing, the module will fire its parachute and float back to Earth. Last month, the current ISS crew discovered a hole in the vessel that Russian Federation claims was drilled deliberately.

Hadfield noted that the launch failure should not be seen as an indictment of the Soyuz rockets, calling mechanical failure part and parcel of space travel.

"An investigative group has been formed and officials are now examining the launch site, documents are being seized", the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

"Officials are now examining the launch site, documents are being seized", it said in a statement. To make matters worse, the three current crew members must return to Earth before the end of the year as well.

The booster suffered a failure minutes after launch.

The malfunction on the rocket happened shortly after launch in Kazakhstan.

Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.

"Glad our friends are fine", space station commander Alexander Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, tweeted from orbit.

Hague was originally scheduled to participate in spacewalks in the coming weeks to replace batteries on the outside of the space station.

The flight was carrying NASA's Nick Hague and Russia's Alexey Ovchinin.

Thursday's aborted mission is another setback for Russia's space program.

A Russian "state commission" has been formed to investigate the mishap.

"I really would be very surprised", he said.

All trips to the ISS and back are undertaken using Russian spacecraft, as has been the case since the Americans retired their shuttles in 2011.