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The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft is launched with Expedition 57 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, Oct. 11. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA is citing an issue with a Russian Soyuz booster rocket as the cause of the aborted launch of a rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, two minutes after takeoff from Russia Thursday morning.

Details: The rocket reached about 31 miles in altitude — just below the boundary of space — when the failure occurred, Deputy Chief Astronaut Reid Wiseman said during a press conference Thursday. The crew landed approximately 11 miles outside of Zhezqazghan, a small city in central Kazakhstan. NASA officials praised Russian rescue efforts for retrieving both crews safely.

  • Neither crew was injured in the process. Wiseman told reporters, "The crew experienced about 6-7 times Earth's gravity, which is not insignificant, but from everything we've seen, the crew's in great shape, they're in biking order, they're healthy."
  • The current International Space Station crew, commanded by Alexander Gerst, will stay put and can get resupplied while NASA decides the next steps.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The big picture: The Soyuz rocket is currently the only way U.S. astronauts can access low Earth orbit, pending the certification of SpaceX and Boeing's spacecraft for the Commercial Crew program, which won't come for at least another year.

  • When asked about the U.S.-Russia relationship moving forward, Kenny Todd, International Space Station operations integration manager, responded: "Clearly over the last 7 years we have relied on the Russians to get our astronauts to space and that partnership has just continued to grow. ... We're very proud of the relationship that we have here at NASA and with our Rococosmos. When it comes to technical issues, they really don't know political boundaries ... we've made a lot of good things happen."

What's next: Todd explained that the Russian agency is setting up an investigation into what caused the failure, but added that they do not suspect criminal activity. The group running the investigation "will be tasked with trying to understand exactly what happened and what recovery efforts are needed in order to get flying again," Todd said.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to indicate the Soyuz rocket is manufactured and operated by Russia.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
55 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

1 hour ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

3 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.