October 11, 2018 11:43 AM

Astronaut Nick Hague is in good condition after making an emergency descent to Earth following a failed launch into space on Thursday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration says.

“Nick is okay,” NASA’s Megan Sumner tells PEOPLE.

So, too, is cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin, who sat alongside Hague in the space capsule, according to NASA. The two were forced to parachute to safety after a rocket booster failed when the two launched in the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft early this morning from Kazakhstan, headed for six months aboard the International Space Station.

The Russian space agency Roskosmos tweeted pictures of the two astronauts after rescue crews collected them from the steppes of Kazakhstan, where they landed.

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The launch appeared to go well until 123 seconds into the flight. The Russian-built Soyuz booster failed, prompting Hague and Ovchinin to abort the mission. A pre-staged recovery team, which is always on standby during space launches, sped toward the landing site to recover the crew.

In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explained the situation further, saying, “Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft.”

The Soyuz MS-10
The Soyuz MS-10
Dmitri Lovetsky/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“Search and rescue teams were deployed to the landing site. Hague and Ovchinin are out of the capsule and are reported to be in good condition,” said Bridenstine. “They will be transported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia outside of Moscow.

“NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully. NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA,” the statement concluded. “A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”


Earlier this year, Hague and his wife, Catie Hague, talked to PEOPLE about the mission.

“Our families understand that this is risky stuff, but not so risky that we wont do it,” Hague said.

While preparing his two young children for their dad’s space flight, Hague had them watch launch videos, and helped them build a giant rocket.

“They’re building it and seeing all the levels of protection, that there’s a huge team watching every little sensor on the vehicle thats working.”

In a comment that proved true, Hague added: “If things go wrong there’s things we can do.”

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