U.S., Russian astronauts survive Soyuz emergency landing
Russian state space agency Roscosmos and NASA on Thursday said the three-stage Soyuz booster rocket, which propelled their landing capsule, suffered an emergency shutdown of its second stage.
The capsule jettisoned from the booster and went into a ballistic descent, landing at a sharper than normal angle and subjecting the crew to heavy gravitational force.
NASA said that rescue teams have reached Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin and they have been taken out of the capsule and were in good condition.
The capsule landed about 20km (12 miles) east of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
"Thank God, the crew is alive," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters when it became clear that the crew had landed safely.
The former military pilots were meant to join Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Roscosmos's Sergey Prokopyev on the ISS after a six-hour flight.
The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle for ferrying crews to the International Space Station following the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle fleet. ■