Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Concrete block on your chest: Russian cosmonaut recounts failed space launch

Concrete block on your chest: Russian cosmonaut recounts failed space launch

Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague spoke separately Tuesday about their frightening experience when an unknown mishap caused their Russian Soyuz to abort its mission 60 kilometers (37 miles) above Kazakhstan.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that a new crew will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on 20 December 2018 despite a recent rocket failure, Space Daily reports.

Hague said he first noticed "being shaken fairly violently side to side as that safety system pulled us away from the rocket". "We had to carry out various actions that have to be done by the crew to prepare for an emergency landing", he said.

Back home in Houston, Hague told the Associated Press, "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 smoothly and efficiently as we could".

Ovchinin said he and Hague understood something was wrong when emergency lights came on in the cabin.

Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin on Tuesday said the G-force during last week's emergency landing of the Soyuz spacecraft felt like a concrete block on his chest but he and NASA astronaut Nick Hague are now in "great" health. Rescuers picked them up after they landed a few hundred miles to the north of Baikonur and they were reported to be in good shape.

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Hague, 43, said he's dealt with in-flight emergencies during his Air Force career, but nothing like this.

Mr Hague said he and his crewmate grinned at touchdown, shook hands and then joked about their short flight.

"Any time you're launching yourself into space and your booster has a problem when you're going 1,800 metres per second, things are pretty dynamic and they happen very fast", he said. He says he'd rather be in orbit, getting ready for a spacewalk, but is grateful to be alive.

They travelled to the circle taking Russia's Soyuz MS-09 shuttle that launched on June 6 and they are booked to remain on board the space station for 187 days.

The incident became the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history. "What we are doing up there at the space station, what we are doing for human exploration, it's for the benefit of all, and it's important that we continue".

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