NASA astronaut shares ordeal, experience of emergency landing after aborted launch

NASA astronaut shares ordeal, experience of emergency landing after aborted launch
The NASA astronaut who survived last week’s failed launch and emergency landing knew he needed to stay calm. Air Force Col Nick Hague on Tuesday described the closest call of his career: His space capsule violently ripped from his damaged rocket shortly after liftoff, then with lights flashing and alarms sounding, plunged steeply back to Earth with punishing force.  Hague said he and his commander, Russian Alexei Ovchinin, were flung from side to side and shoved back hard into their seats, as the drama unfolded 50 kilometers above Kazakhstan last Thursday. One of the four strap-on boosters failed to separate properly two minutes into the flight to the International Space Station and apparently struck the core rocket stage, resulting instantaneously in a rare launch abort.

US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without harm after rescue crews raced to locate and rescue them in Kazakh. Image: Reuters It was the first aborted launch for the Russians in 35 years and only the third in history. Like each one before, the rocket’s safety system kept the crew alive.

Hague €” the first American to experience a launch abort like this €” communicated in Russian throughout the more than half-hour ordeal.”All of my instincts and reflexes inside the capsule are to speak Russian,” said Hague, who had two years of training in Russia.”We knew that if we wanted to be successful, we needed to stay calm and we needed to execute the procedures in front of us as smoothly and efficiently as we could,” Hague told The Associated Press from Houston. The astronauts experienced a few moments of weightlessness after their Soyuz capsule catapulted away from the rocket. Hague, making his first launch, saw the curvature of Earth and the blackness of space.

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