The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft landed near the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan after failing mid-air en route to the International Space Station.
NASA’s Nick Hague, flying for the first time, and Aleksey Ovchinin of Roscosmos blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just before 10am.
A NASA statement said: “Search and rescue teams were deployed to the landing site.
“Hague and Ovchinin are out of the capsule and are reported to be in good condition.
“They will be transported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia outside of Moscow.
“NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully.
“NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew.
“Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA.
“A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”
The Soyuz capsule containing two astronauts has crash-landed in Kazakhstan
The guys are lucky that they remained alive
Speaking on NTV, cosmonaut Alexander Volkov commented: “The guys are lucky that they remained alive.
“They had a good height so it was possible to descend in their capsule.”
Interface reported all capsule rescue system, landing engines and parachutes had worked normally.
An earlier statement issued by NASA said: “The Soyuz MS-10 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 pm in Baikonur).
Astronauts Nick Hague and Aleksey Ovchinin
“Shortly after launch, there was an issue with the booster.
The Soyuz capsule carrying them separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made what is called a steep ballistic descent with parachutes helping slow its speed. Paratroopers parachuted to the rescue site, TASS news agency reported.
Neither man needed medical treatment and NASA TV said both were fine.
The problem occurred when a booster rocket on theSoyuz-FG launch vehicle, launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur in the central Asian country, failed in some way, NASA said.
The launch appeared to smoothly in its initial stages, meaning the failure of the booster rocket must have occurred at higher altitude.
A Roscosmos tweet showed the astronauts after their ordeal
“Teams have confirmed the spacecraft separated from the booster and are in contact with the crew as the capsule returns in a ballistic decent mode.”
A subsequent statement said: “The Soyuz capsule has landed back on Earth carrying two crew members.
“The crew are in good condition and in contact.
“Search and rescue teams are en route to the landing location and we await further updates.”
Roscosmos tweeted: “During the launch of the ship # SoyuzMS10, an abnormal situation occurred.
The Soyuz rocket launches in Kazakhstan earlier today
“The emergency rescue system worked, the ship landed in Kazakhstan along the flight route.
“The crew of the ship is alive and got in touch!
“Rescuers have already moved to the search and evacuation of Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Haig (sic).”
Russian website Sputnik said rescue teams had reported seeing a parachute descending with the craft.
Citing Russian military sources, it said four Mi-8 helicopters had been seen heading for the landing site via Kazakh airports.
RIA news agency, citing its own source, has reported that Russia had decided to suspend all manned space launches after the Soyuz failure.
The mission had been intended to take supplies to the ISS, but Russian news agency TASS reported astronauts currently on the space station had enough to cope with the failure of the Soyuz rocket to get to them.
The Soyuz rocket in the sky over Kazakhstan
Dmitry Rogozin, Roscosmos general director, tweeted: “To determine the cause of the accident at the Soyuz-FG LV, a state commission was formed by my decision. This has already begun work. Telemetry is being studied.
“Rescue services work from the first second of the accident.
“The emergency rescue system of the Soyuz-MS ship worked normally. Crew rescued.”
The failure is a setback for the Russian space programme and the latest in a string of mishaps.
In August, a hole appeared in a Soyuz capsule already docked to the ISS which caused a brief loss of air pressure and had to be patched. Mr Rogozin has said it could have been “sabotage”.
NASA relies on Moscow to take its astronauts to the International Space Station
In November last year, Roscosmos lost contact with a newly-launched weather satellite – the Meteor-M – after it blasted off from Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome in the Far East.
Mr Rogozin said at the time that the launch of the 2.6 billion-rouble (£29.6 million) satellite had been due to an embarrassing programming error.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov has said he hoped the United States would be “understanding” about the malfunction.
The ISS, launched in 1998, is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit which is used to carry out scientific and space-related tests. It can hold a crew of up to six people.
The United States currently relies on Moscow to carry its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), which was launched 20 years ago.
NASA tentatively plans to send its first crew to the ISS using a SpaceX craft instead of a Soyuz next April.
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(Additional reporting by Will Stewart)
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