US, Russian astronauts blast off to space station

A booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and USA astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.

"The emergency rescue system worked, the vessel was able to land in Kazakhstan ... the crew are alive", Roscosmos said in a tweet.

Russian Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague were on board but their lives "are not in danger", said Russian state TV.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket.

"We had an interruption on today's launch", a NASA commentator reported.

But they got into trouble and were forced to make an emergency exit. Search and rescue crews are getting ready to reach the expected landing site.

The rocket was carrying USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin.

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The Soyuz MS-10 rocket had four boosters strapped to its central core.

"Teams have been in contact with the crew".

Search and rescue teams were heading to the area to recover the crew.

For Hague, the aborted launch would have been his first trip into space.

Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.

Rockets use boosters to provide the thrust they need to launch from Earth and breech the atmosphere.

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