Soyuz Launch Aborted With ISS Crew On Board


Mar 3, 2018
A Soyuz rocket carrying ISS crew members aborted a launch mid flight today. 2 minutes into the launch, as the boosters separated from the main vehicle, parts started flying off while translators monitoring the live feed yelled "booster failure!." The MS-10 capsule carrying the astronauts separated from the rest of the rocket, just as it was designed to do, and fell back down to Earth. After experiencing deceleration forces as high as 7G, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin landed somewhere in Kazakhstan, and reports say they're both OK. The Soyuz rocket is currently the only launch platform capable of carrying astronauts to the ISS, but other launch platforms are in development.

You can see a video of the launch here.

Thursday’s launch was the first mishap for a Russian Soyuz booster since an earlier version of the rocket caught fire on the pad before launch in August 1983, triggering a dramatic abort that subjected Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov to 17 times the force of gravity as the capsule was pulled away fro the exploding rocket. They landed about two and a half miles from the launch pad, shaken but in good health. The only other Russian manned launch failure occurred in 1975 when the booster’s second and third stages failed to separate. Vasily Lazarev and Oleg Makarov reached an altitude of 119 miles before descending to a landing about 978 miles from the launch site in the Altai Mountains. The crew was rescued without incident. The only fatalities in the Russian manned space program occurred during re-entries from orbit. Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was killed in 1967 when the parachutes in his malfunctioning capsule failed to inflate. Three cosmonauts - Vladislav Volkov, Georgi Dobrovoiski and Viktor Patsayev - lost their lives in 1971 when their Soyuz depressurized during descent.
so it was a successful failure. good for them.

wonder how long though it will be till they can get another one ready to send them up.
Say what you will, the Soyuz has an impeccable service record. Wonder if this is age related...
Given the very good track record for this booster and the recent sabotage of a Russian ISS module, I wonder if this could have been sabotage as well.
We may never know.
Probably had to pry their undergarments out of their asses with a crowbar. Glad they made it ok.

That's the one good aspect about pulling 20g's - it's hard to shit your pants. I feel bad for the American astronaut, though, because he probably didn't know enough Russian to tell the rescuers, "My balls are in my ass."
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Ballistic decent landing does not sound like a fun ride. Wonder what the conversion was while they were waiting for over and hours for the rescue team to arrive. "Comrade, I told you not to touch red button".
That's the one good aspect about pulling 20g's - it's hard to shit your pants. I feel bad for the American astronaut, though, because he probably didn't learn enough Russian to tell the rescue team, "My balls are in my ass."

They don't pull 20g's; the peak is about 12, dynamic.

Reentry should be less than 10, hitting the atmosphere at 22k mph.

They weren't going that fast.

Someone in the Russian space program is doing what they can to help out SpaceX, I hope they never get a job there. :)

I'm sure it will be blamed on the American drilling a hole in something, lol.
Ballistic decent landing does not sound like a fun ride.

IIRC I read earlier that they 'only' pulled around 6.7g during this particular abort. A normal Soyuz re-entry from orbit gets up to 4.5g.

In this case the abort happened at a high enough altitude that they did an early separation from the booster and began their descent. At lower altitudes there's a launch escape tower on top of the rocket that can quickly pull the capsule away from the booster, if that had gone off they would have experienced 14+g for a few seconds.
Hope they all have clones so they can continue on if the worst should happen.
Amazing that these Astronauts made it back safe! When I first saw the pictures I thought I would be reading that they had all perished, and was so happy to see they were ok!

However, I expect the usual hysterical Russian response of sobotage etc etc...
I'm pretty sure any astronaut would have given his left nut to have rode into space in that car that the SpaceX rocket sent into space. Drive that thing over to the ISS.
Following a botched, manned rocket launch last week, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine told reporters "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 next manned launched is scheduled for December 20th, and that launch represents the only lifeline the ISS has. No other launch platform is currently rated for carrying humans to space. According to Ars, the Crew Escape Vehicle aboard the ISS only has a rated lifetime of 200 days, and that time runs out in January. ISS crew members could be forced to abandon the station if things don't go according to plan, but NASA and Roscosmos do have plans for short-term unmanned ISS operation as well as unmanned Soyuz resupply missions. Unfortunately, a space walk for examining a hole in the ISS was also canceled. Spaceflightnow uploaded a video of the Soyuz rocket failure taken from multiple angles, for those who missed the original launch.

The failed launch earned scathing criticism from the usually pliant Russian media. "The breakup of the Soyuz," Kommersant broadsheet said in a frontpage headline. But observers also said the astronauts survived thanks to the reliability of the Soviet-era rocket's rescue system, which returned them safely to Earth despite the launch failure. "As strange as it may seem, the accident at Baikonur only confirmed the reliability of the Russian rocket," said opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. But it added that Russia's state space industry probably could not be saved "in its current form."
One more Russian launch gets us pretty close to being able to use Dragon 2 assuming no more schedule slips.
Like others said, while the launch failed, at least the safety process to get them back went well.