Astronauts arrive in Moscow after emergency landing in Kazakhstan

International Space Station crew members board the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Kazakhstan

About two minutes after launching, the three-stage Soyuz booster rocket suffered an unspecified failure of its second stage.

Nasa says a booster failure forced the two crew to return to return to Earth in a "ballistic descent mode" - a sharper angle of landing compared to normal that put the pair under higher G-forces than normal.

In this photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the rescue team gather next to the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule after it made an emergency landing in a field 280 miles northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Oct. 11, 2018. After about 20 minutes of uncertainty, Russian officials confirmed the crew were OK, and had landed about 20km east of Dzhezkazgan, a city in central Kazakhstan.

"I fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no reason to believe at this point that it will not be on schedule", the Nasa administrator said.

Head of Russian space agency Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin (C) poses with astronauts Alexey Ovchinin of Russia and Nick Hague of the US, who survived the mid-air failure of a Russian rocket, on onboard a plane during a flight to Chkalovsky airport near Star City outside Moscow, Russia October 12, 2018. He added that the president is receiving regular updates about the situation.

The Soyuz MS-10, a Russian spacecraft, was transporting NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, when it launched from Kazakhstan.

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Search and rescue teams from Russian Federation arrived as soon as the spacecraft touched ground to assist the astronauts. The agency is waiting for both Boeing and SpaceX to deliver home-grown spacecraft so it no longer has to rely on Russian Federation to send supplies and crew to the ISS.

Former military pilots Ovchinin and Hague were set to join Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos following a six-hour flight. This was Ovchinin's second trip to the station, and Hague's first trip.

Paulo Lozano, an MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics and director of the university's Space Propulsion Laboratory, said the capsule "went down like a free fall".

Earlier this week, Bridenstine emphasized that collaboration with Russia's Roscosmos remains important.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential vote, but they have maintained co-operation in space research.

In coming years, American aerospace companies SpaceX, with its Dragon 2, and Boeing, with its Starliner, are expected to return to space.

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Both astronauts were said to be "alive" on Thursday morning, but their exact condition is not known - according to local Russian report.

Unmanned cargo launches carry food and other supplies to the ISS and use the same rocket system as the Soyuz. Then, a rocket malfunctioned shortly before launch, and the crew vehicle was ejected to safety. Neither NASA or Roscosmos will be jumping to any conclusions, but Russian Federation has promised a full investigation and is forming a team to look into how and why the rocket failed as it did.

In the meantime, all scheduled Soyuz launches have been suspended.

In August, the International Space Station crew spotted a hole in a Russian Soyuz capsule docked to the orbiting outpost that caused a brief loss of air pressure before being patched.

The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, on Twitter pledged that the two men would still make it to the ISS.

Interfax quoted a source as saying the crash meant the three people now aboard the space station - a German, a Russian and an American - would be stuck there at least until January.

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