OCT 16, 2018 04:39 PM PDT

NASA Astronaut Nick Hague Describes Experience From Failed Soyuz Launch

Just last week, a Russian rocket tasked with sending NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to the International Space Station failed to do so. To keep Hague and Ovinchin safe from catastrophe, safety mechanisms built into the crewed MS-10 capsule hoisted it far from the booster rocket to make a safe landing.

An image of a Soyuz rocket blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Image Credit: Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

Investigations are still underway to discern what caused the rocket failure. But if anything’s sure about the botched launch, it’s that it was almost certainly a one-off instance of bad luck, as the Soyuz platform sports a nearly-spotless track record for reliability and safety.

In the meantime, media sources have turned to the ride’s passengers for exclusive answers about what happened that day and what it felt like. As you might come to expect, being an astronaut helplessly strapped into a malfunctioning rocket system can be a petrifying experience, but the pros are trained to remain calm under all circumstances.

“It went from normal to something was wrong pretty quick,” NASA astronaut Nick Hague explained in an interview. “The first thing I noticed was being shaken fairly violently side to side. Then there was an alarm in the capsule and a light. I knew once I saw the light that we had an emergency with the boosters.”

Related: A Soyuz spacecraft docked successfully with the International Space Station

The light was just one component of an onboard alert system that alerted the crewmembers of a problem. After the light turned on, the capsule’s safety mechanism took over. A few moments later, the capsule was being jettisoned far away from the hazardous booster rocket.

“At that point, I knew we weren’t going to make it to orbit. I looked out the window, and I realized that I got close,” Hague added. “The mission changed to getting back to the ground as safely as we could.”

After the crewed capsule got far enough away from the booster rocket, it deployed emergency landing parachutes that guided it to the ground safely. Just over half-an-hour later, Hague and Ovinchin touched down in Kazakhstan, where recovery crews met with the men to ensure their safety. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

Despite the unpleasant situation, it appears that NASA hasn’t given up on the Soyuz platform just yet. Both space agencies have expressed interest in retrying the launch in the future, perhaps by Spring of 2019. In the meantime, the International Space Station may go without new crew members for a while.

Worthy of note, NASA is working closely with commercial space companies like SpaceX and Boeing to bring future International Space Station launches back to American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle Program. When things finally move forward, NASA will no longer need to depend on the Russian Soyuz platform for the continuance of space research. 

Source: Wired

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 15, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2018
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is Back Up and Running
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was recently kicked into safe mode following a mysterious anomaly. Spacecraft engineers have been working around the...
NOV 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2018
International Space Station Receives Fresh Supplies From Back-to-Back Rocket Launches
Both the United States and Russian space agencies share the burden of sending fresh food, fuel, and supplies to the International Space Station every few m...
DEC 09, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2018
After a Slight Delay, SpaceX's Christmas Delivery Arrives at the ISS
Three days after the official launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday with a sp...
DEC 23, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 23, 2018
Here's Why We Don't Have a Picture of a Black Hole Yet
All black hole images you've ever seen have been artist's renditions; but in 2017, a team of astronomers set out to officially photograph of a blac...
DEC 26, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 26, 2018
Are LIGO's Gravitational Wave Detections Real?
Albert Einstein first theorized about the existence of gravitational waves in 1916, and physicists have been on an endless scavenger hunt to observe them e...
DEC 28, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 28, 2018
What's a Dyson Sphere and How to Build One?
Proposed by physicist Freeman Dyson in 1960, a Dyson sphere is a speculative megastructure that harvests a star's energy by partially or completely sur...
Loading Comments...