“Search and rescue teams are in contact with the crew and are en route to the landing location,” NASA said. It’s not yet clear where the rocket touched down.
The rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin had lifted off at 4:40 a.m. ET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, bound for the International Space Station, where the pair were expected to spend six months.
The journey was expected to take six hours.
NASA earlier tweeted that there had been an issue with the booster and that its teams were heading towards the expected touchdown location.
“Teams have been in contact with the crew. Teams are working with our Russian partners to obtain more information about the issue with the booster from today’s launch,” the agency said.
“The crew is returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode. Teams are working to obtain additional information from our Russian partners. Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members.”
The ballistic descent is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal, NASA said.