Rocket carrying space station crew fails in mid-air, crew forced to make emergency landing

Booster rockets carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and a U.S. astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing, Russian news agencies reported.

Agencies cited sources as saying that the crew was safe and was making an emergency landing in Kazakhstan where the unsuccessful launch took place.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’s Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 4:40 a.m. ET Thursday from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket.

They were to dock at the orbiting outpost six hours later, but the booster suffered a failure minutes after the launch.

Search and rescue crews are getting ready to reach the expected landing site.

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With files from The Associated Press and CBC

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