Russian, American astronauts make emergency landing after rocket failure

I am amazed that there aren't more of these incidents.

A Russian rocket carrying a Soyuz space capsule with a Russian and an American astronaut aboard suffered a failure before it reached orbit, necessitating an emergency landing.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos's Alexey Ovchinin were in good condition after making an emergency landing in Kazakhstan, NASA officials said.

Fox News:

The pair lifted off in Kazakhstan at around 2:40 p.m. local time from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome atop a Soyuz booster rocket.

The pair was set to dock at the space station six hours after launch, but the booster rocket failed minutes after launch.

NASA said Russian space officials informed the agency that the crew was in good condition after making an emergency landing 12 miles east of the city of Dzhezkazgan.  Spacecraft returning from the ISS normally land in that region.

The U.S. does not have its own launch capability for crew to get to the International Space Station, which is why we've been hitching rides with the Russians since the shuttle was retired in 2011.  This is only the second use of a launch abort system with humans on board.  The first occurred on another Soyuz rocket that failed in 1983.

The Soyuz is considered a reliable launch vehicle, but the failure yesterday highlights the need for the U.S. to have its own capability to launch crews to the ISS.  After years of delay, the SpaceX Dragon capsule is scheduled to take off next April with a crew on board.  NASA has tentatively signed off on the flight, but given the problems in the past and Elon Musk's current troubles, nothing is certain.

Boeing also has a manned vehicle, the Starliner, that might be ready by next year.  NASA is developing the Orion space capsule for flights to Earth orbit and the Moon.

None of these vehicles is proven.  All are years behind schedule.  Despite extending the life of the space shuttle by several years to give NASA time to develop an alternative, they failed miserably.

So here we are, seven years after the last shuttle flight, still begging the Russians for a ride to the ISS.  Forget the Moon and Mars.  We can't even launch people 120 miles above the Earth.  While there's no doubt that private industry must play a dominant role in the future of manned space exploration, NASA and the European and Russian space agencies must show better leadership.  Even though the launch vehicles will be privately developed, the space infrastructure – launch facilities, astronaut training, and regulatory regime – will be government-owned and run for a while.

Eventually, a way must be found to dramatically reduce the cost of getting humans into orbit.  Currently, the price per pound is about $3,500.  Elon Musk believes he can cut that in half almost immediately.  Regardless, it appears at this point that government is more of an impediment to the private, commercial exploitation of space than an asset.

I am amazed that there aren't more of these incidents.

A Russian rocket carrying a Soyuz space capsule with a Russian and an American astronaut aboard suffered a failure before it reached orbit, necessitating an emergency landing.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos's Alexey Ovchinin were in good condition after making an emergency landing in Kazakhstan, NASA officials said.

Fox News:

The pair lifted off in Kazakhstan at around 2:40 p.m. local time from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome atop a Soyuz booster rocket.

The pair was set to dock at the space station six hours after launch, but the booster rocket failed minutes after launch.

NASA said Russian space officials informed the agency that the crew was in good condition after making an emergency landing 12 miles east of the city of Dzhezkazgan.  Spacecraft returning from the ISS normally land in that region.

The U.S. does not have its own launch capability for crew to get to the International Space Station, which is why we've been hitching rides with the Russians since the shuttle was retired in 2011.  This is only the second use of a launch abort system with humans on board.  The first occurred on another Soyuz rocket that failed in 1983.

The Soyuz is considered a reliable launch vehicle, but the failure yesterday highlights the need for the U.S. to have its own capability to launch crews to the ISS.  After years of delay, the SpaceX Dragon capsule is scheduled to take off next April with a crew on board.  NASA has tentatively signed off on the flight, but given the problems in the past and Elon Musk's current troubles, nothing is certain.

Boeing also has a manned vehicle, the Starliner, that might be ready by next year.  NASA is developing the Orion space capsule for flights to Earth orbit and the Moon.

None of these vehicles is proven.  All are years behind schedule.  Despite extending the life of the space shuttle by several years to give NASA time to develop an alternative, they failed miserably.

So here we are, seven years after the last shuttle flight, still begging the Russians for a ride to the ISS.  Forget the Moon and Mars.  We can't even launch people 120 miles above the Earth.  While there's no doubt that private industry must play a dominant role in the future of manned space exploration, NASA and the European and Russian space agencies must show better leadership.  Even though the launch vehicles will be privately developed, the space infrastructure – launch facilities, astronaut training, and regulatory regime – will be government-owned and run for a while.

Eventually, a way must be found to dramatically reduce the cost of getting humans into orbit.  Currently, the price per pound is about $3,500.  Elon Musk believes he can cut that in half almost immediately.  Regardless, it appears at this point that government is more of an impediment to the private, commercial exploitation of space than an asset.