Astronauts make an emergency landing after rocket malfunction on lift-off to the International Space Station (UPDATED)

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An American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut aborted their flight to the International Space Station on Thursday after a booster failure on their Soyuz rocket.

The status of the astronaut and cosmonaut is unclear after the spacecraft when into “ballistic descent landing” following booster failure. “It returned to the earth in a sharper angle than it would have been expected to land (under emergency maneuvers),” said NASA mission control in Houston.

Their spacecraft was expected to dock at the ISS within six hours after blastoff from Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome. Search and rescue teams have been deployed and are expected to arrive at the emergency landing destination within an hour and a half.

NASA said it is coordinating with Russia’s space agency to determine the status of the operation.

Meanwhile Russia has suspended manned space launches after the failure of one of its rockets carrying two astronauts to the International Space Station, casting doubts over the future of the orbiting laboratory.


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