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Astronauts pictured safe and well undergoing blood tests and enjoying platefuls of nuts after rocket booster failed - sending them plummeting to earth

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 6 days ago Patrick Grafton-Green

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Two astronauts from the US and Russia have been pictured safe and well after a rocket they were in malfunctioned and plummeted down to earth.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos's Alexei Ovchinin were pictured undergoing medical tests and having hot drinks and platefuls of calorie-packed almonds and cashews following their dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

The pair had blasted off on a mission to the International Space Station at 2.40pm local time from the Baikonur cosmodrome on a Soyuz booster rocket.

Search and rescue teams later swept a landing site before finding the astronauts alive and in a "good condition."

a group of people sitting at a table © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

The fault was caused by three-stage booster which suffered an emergency failure and shutdown during its second stage.

The astronauts' capsule jettisoned from the booster plunged the pair into a high G-force ballistic descent.

Nasa said their capsule landed at a sharper than normal angle and the crew was subjected to heavy G-forces.

The capsule landed about 12 miles east of the city of Dzhezkazgan.

a blue sky: rocket1a.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited rocket1a.jpg

The emergency is the latest mishap for the Russian space programme, which has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents in recent years.

"Thank God, the crew is alive," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters when it became clear that the crew had landed safely.

rocket2a.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited rocket2a.jpg It was to be the first space mission for Mr Hague, who joined Nasa's astronaut corps in 2013. Mr Ovchinin spent six months on the orbiting outpost in 2016.

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, who watched the launch together with Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine, tweeted that an investigation was being carried out into the cause of the booster failure.

Thursday's failure was the first manned launch failure for the Russian space programme since September 1983 when a Soyuz exploded on the launch pad.

a plane flying in the air with smoke coming out of it: rocket-soyuz.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited rocket-soyuz.jpg

Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad.

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