(Neb)-Astronaut With Panhandle Ties Makes Safe Emergency Landing
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, KazakhstanThere was a near-disaster this morning in outer space when a Soyuz spacecraft taking an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut to the orbiting International Space Station suffered a rocket failure - and the incident had a Panhandle connection because the American was Nick Hague, son of former Gering School Superintendent Don Hague and his wife Beverly.
Russian and NASA officials said in a joint release that the failure occurred minutes after takeoff from a Russian-leased cosmodrome in Kazahkstan, but Hague and Alexei Ovchinin made a safe emergency landing somewhere on the Kazahk steppes,.
The Soyuz capsule separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made what is called a steep ballistic descent with parachutes helping slow its speed. Paratroopers quickly reach the site and reported that neither man needed medical treatment
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating. Footage from inside the Soyuz showed the two men being shaken around at the moment the failure occurred, with their arms and legs flailing.
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