US, Russia space crew aborts mission after booster failure

Cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague at the pre-launch ceremony in Kazakhstan

BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN-A duo of astronauts aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule bound for the the International Space Station landed back on Earth mere minutes after launch as their rocket suffered an unspecified failure.

The US space agency Nasa said there was an "issue with the booster".

The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

"The launch had a problem with the booster (rocket) a few seconds after the first stage separation and we can confirm now that the crew has started to go into ballistic descent mode", the voice-over on a Nasa live-stream from mission control in Houston said.

USA and Russian officials said the crew was heading for an emergency landing in Kazakhstan at an unspecified time.

Hague and Ovchinin will open the hatch to their spacecraft at 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT), when they will be greeted by their three Expedition 57 crewmates: NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev.

A duo of astronauts from the USA and Russian Federation has blasted off for a mission on the International Space Station. They were scheduled to dock with the space station later Thursday and spend six-months there. It is not clear at this time if that flight will be delayed as a result of the Soyuz MS-10 failure Thursday.

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