US, Russian astronauts land safely after rocket failure

US, Russian astronauts land safely after rocket failure
In this photo provided by Roscosmos, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, center, and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, center left, arrive in Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, after an emergency landing following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — The problem came two minutes into the flight: The rocket carrying an American and a Russian to the International Space Station failed Thursday, triggering an emergency that sent their capsule into a steep, harrowing fall back to Earth.

The crew landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan, but the aborted mission dealt another blow to the troubled Russian space program that currently serves as the only way to deliver astronauts to the orbiting outpost. It also was the first such accident for Russia's manned program in over three decades.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin had a brief period of weightlessness when the capsule separated from the malfunctioning Soyuz rocket at an altitude of about 50 kilometers (31 miles), then endured gravitational forces of 6-7 times more than is felt on Earth as they came down at a sharper-than-normal angle.

About a half-hour later, the capsule parachuted onto a barren area about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

"Thank God the crew is alive," said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In this photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lays in a field after an emergency landing near Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)
In this photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lays in a field after an emergency landing near Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP) (AP)

All Russian manned launches were suspended pending an investigation into the failure, said Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.

In this photo released by Roscosmos, NASA Astronaut Nick Hague, left, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin pose for a photo in Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, after an emergency landing following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)
In this photo released by Roscosmos, NASA Astronaut Nick Hague, left, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin pose for a photo in Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, after an emergency landing following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP) (AP)

New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who watched the launch at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome with his Russian counterpart, said Hague and Ovchinin were in good condition. He added that a "thorough investigation" will be conducted.

In this photo provided by Roscosmos, U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right, embraces his wife Catie in Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, after an emergency landing following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)
In this photo provided by Roscosmos, U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right, embraces his wife Catie in Baikonur airport, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, after an emergency landing following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP) (AP)

Hague, 43, and Ovchinin, 47, lifted off at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT). The astronauts were to dock at the space station six hours later and join an American, a Russian and a German on board.

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

But the three-stage Soyuz rocket suffered an unspecified failure of its second stage two minutes after launch. Russian news reports indicated that one of its four first-stage engines might have failed to jettison in sync with others, resulting in the second stage's shutdown and activating the automatic emergency rescue system.

In this photo provided by Roscosmos, NASA astronaut Nick Hague sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)
In this photo provided by Roscosmos, NASA astronaut Nick Hague sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP) (AP)

For the crew in the capsule, events would have happened very quickly, NASA's deputy chief astronaut Reid Wiseman told reporters at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. An emergency light would have come on and, an instant later, the abort motors would fire to pull the capsule away from the rocket.

Smoke rise as the boosters of first stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, separate after the launch at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The two astronauts are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Smoke rise as the boosters of first stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, separate after the launch at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The two astronauts are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

Wiseman said the only thing that went through his mind was "I hope they get down safe."

In this photo provided by Roscosmos, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)
In this photo provided by Roscosmos, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP) (AP)

Search and rescue teams scrambled to recover the crew, and paratroopers were dropped to the site. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, and spacecraft returning from the space station normally land in that area.

A gerbil comes out of a hole a few hours prior to the launch of the Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A gerbil comes out of a hole a few hours prior to the launch of the Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

Back at Baikonur, Bridenstine acknowledged in a NASA TV interview that "for a period of time, we didn't know what the situation was."

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, flies in the sky at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The two astronauts are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, flies in the sky at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The two astronauts are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

Hague's wife and parents anxiously awaited word at Baikonur, accompanied the whole time by a NASA astronaut who was in the same class as Hague. They all behaved admirably, according to Bridenstine, adding that Hague's wife, Catie, is an Air Force officer like her husband and also a public affairs officer.

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

"It was a tough day, no doubt, but at the end of the day, the training paid off for everybody," he said.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Yuri Kochetkov, Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Yuri Kochetkov, Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

Still, Bridenstine said: "We are thrilled that even though it was a launch failure, all of the safety systems worked."

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), waves to his sons from a bus prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), waves to his sons from a bus prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool) (AP)

The astronauts were returned to Baikonur for medical checks and to see their families. They were spending the night there before heading to Star City, Russia's training center outside Moscow.

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, flies in the sky at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The two astronauts are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, flies in the sky at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The two astronauts are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

It was to be the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013 and might have to wait awhile for another shot. Ovchinin spent six months on the orbiting outpost in 2016.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, wave as they board to the rocket prior the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Yuri Kochetkov, Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, wave as they board to the rocket prior the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Yuri Kochetkov, Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

Oleg Orlov, the head of Russia's main space medicine center, said the crew was trained to endure higher-than-usual gravity loads and were tightly strapped into their custom-made seats to help withstand the pressure.

CORRECTS TO ROSCOSMOS DIRECTOR DMITRY ROGOZIN FROM ROSCOSMOS COSMONAUT ALEXEY OVCHININ - In this photo provided by Roscosmos, NASA Astronaut Nick Hague, left, and Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin sit in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, after an emergency landing following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)
CORRECTS TO ROSCOSMOS DIRECTOR DMITRY ROGOZIN FROM ROSCOSMOS COSMONAUT ALEXEY OVCHININ - In this photo provided by Roscosmos, NASA Astronaut Nick Hague, left, and Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin sit in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, after an emergency landing following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP) (AP)

Flight controllers kept the three space station residents informed, assuring them, "The boys have landed."

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, crew member of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, boards the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Yuri Kochetkov, Pool)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, crew member of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, boards the rocket prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Yuri Kochetkov, Pool) (AP)

"Glad our friends are fine," space station commander Alexander Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, tweeted from orbit. "Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind."

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), waves to his relatives from a bus prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), waves to his relatives from a bus prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool) (AP)

There was no immediate word on whether the space station crew might need to extend its own six-month mission. Two spacewalks planned for later this month were off indefinitely. Hague was supposed to be one of the spacewalkers.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), waves to his sons from a bus prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), waves to his sons from a bus prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool) (AP)

NASA said it's dusting off its plans for operating the space station without a crew, just in case the Russian investigation drags into next year.

Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speaks with his relatives through a safety glass prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speaks with his relatives through a safety glass prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

Kenny Todd, a space station manager, said from Houston that the space station crew can stay on board until January. That's just a month beyond their expected mid-December return. Their Soyuz capsule is good for about 200 days in orbit.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), gestures prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), gestures prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

If the Russian rockets remain grounded until it's time for the crew to come home, flight controllers could operate the station without anyone on board, Todd said.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), walk prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), walk prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool) (AP)

It could operate like that for a long time, barring a major equipment failure, he added. But it will need to be staffed before SpaceX or Boeing launches its crew capsules next year, Todd said. Given that the space station is a $100 billion asset, Todd says it needs to have someone on board for the arrival of the commercial demo missions, for safety reasons.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speak prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, right and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speak prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

While the Russian program has been dogged by a string of problems with other kinds of launches in recent years, Thursday's incident marked its first manned launch failure since September 1983, when a Soyuz exploded on the launch pad.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speaks with his relatives through a safety glass prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speaks with his relatives through a safety glass prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

Borisov said Russia will fully share all relevant information with the U.S., which pays up to $82 million per ride to the space station.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), inspects his space suit prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), inspects his space suit prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

"I hope that the American side will treat it with understanding," he said.

Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), looks on during inspecting his space suit prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), looks on during inspecting his space suit prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-10 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) (AP)

NASA's Bridenstine emphasized that collaboration with Roscosmos remains important.

In this photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lays in a field after an emergency landing near Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)
In this photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lays in a field after an emergency landing near Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP) (AP)

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential vote, but they have kept cooperating in space.

In this photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lays in a field after an emergency landing near Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)
In this photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lays in a field after an emergency landing near Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two minutes after the launch. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP) (AP)

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle for ferrying crews to the space station following the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle fleet. Russia stands to lose that monopoly with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

In this photo provided by Roscosmos, NASA astronaut Nick Hague sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)
In this photo provided by Roscosmos, NASA astronaut Nick Hague sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP) (AP)

In August, the space station crew found a hole in a Soyuz capsule docked to the orbiting outpost that caused a brief loss of air pressure before being patched. Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin raised wide concern by saying the leak was a drill hole that was made intentionally during manufacturing or in orbit. He didn't say if he suspected any of the station's crew.

In this photo provided by Roscosmos, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP)
In this photo provided by Roscosmos, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin sits in a hall after being transported by the rescue team, in Dzhezkazgan, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia were safe Thursday after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station. (Roscosmos via AP) (AP)

In the 1983 launch failure, cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad after the Soyuz explosion.

"It's an unpleasant situation," Titov told the Tass news agency Thursday. "We went through it, and it was very bad."

He added that it will take about a week for the crew to fully recover.

In 1975, the failure of a Soyuz upper stage sent Vasily Lazarev and Oleg Makarov into a fiery fall to Earth from an altitude of 190 kilometers, subjecting them to enormous G-forces that caused them to black out and temporarily lose sight. They landed on a snowy mountain slope and spent two nights in the cold before rescue crews reached them.

Russia has continued to rely on Soviet-designed rockets for commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the space station.

While Russian rockets earned a reputation for reliability in the past, the recent launch failures have cast doubt on Russia's ability to maintain its high standards.

Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws. Roscosmos sent more than 70 rocket engines back to production lines to replace faulty components, a move that resulted in a yearlong break in Proton launches and badly dented Russia's niche in the global market for commercial launches.

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Isachenkov reported from Moscow. Associated Press writer Jim Heintz in Moscow and Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral contributed.