Booster failure of the second stage of the MS-10 spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan resulted in the implementation of emergency measures to return one cosmonaut and one astronaut safely back to earth in a ballistic descent on October 11, 2018. Fortunately, it worked.
This article recounts the events that occurred leading up to the launch abort. The NASA briefing regarding the booster issue occurred once it was known the spacemen had returned alive.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos are preparing for their launch to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday (2:40 p.m. in Baikonur). Live launch coverage will begin at 3:30 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website. At the time of launch, the space station will be flying over NE Kazakhstan at 254 statute miles.
The two will join Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev, who arrived at the station in June.
The crew members of Expedition 57 will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the International Space Station, humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.
Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:
EDT L-Hr/M/Sec Event
7:40:17pm 9:00 Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel
10:40:17pm 6:00 Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
10:55:17pm 5:45 Batteries installed in booster
11:25:17pm 5:15 Crew arrives at Site 254
11:40:17pm 5:00 Tanking begins
12:10:17am 4:30 Crew suit up
12:35:17am 4:05 Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
1:10:17am 3:30 Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
1:35:17am 3:05 First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
1:40:17am 3:00 Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for the launch pad
1:45:17am 2:55 Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
2:05:17am 2:35 Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
2:15:17am 2:25 Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
3:05:17am 1:35 Descent module hardware tested
3:20:17am 1:20 Hatch closed; leak checks begin
3:30:00am 1:10:17 NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
3:40:17am 1:00 Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
3:45:00am :55:17 NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities B-roll played)
3:55:17am :45:00 Pad service structure components lowered
3:56:17am :44:00 Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
4:03:17am :37:00 Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
4:06:17am :34:00 Emergency escape system armed
4:25:17am :15:00 Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
4:30:17am :10:00 Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
4:33:17am :07:00 Pre-launch operations complete
4:34:17am :06:00 Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
4:35:17am :05:00 Commander’s controls activated
4:36:17am :04:00 Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
4:36:51am :03:26 ISS flies directly over the Baikonur Cosmodrome
4:37:17am :03:00 Propellant drainback
4:37:32am :02:45 Booster propellant tank pressurization
4:38:47am :01:30 Ground propellant feed terminated
4:39:17am :01:00 Vehicle to internal power
4:39:42am :00:35 First umbilical tower separates
Auto sequence start
4:39:47am :00:30 Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
4:40:02am :00:15 Second umbilical tower separates
4:40:05am :00:12 Launch command issued
Engine Start Sequence Begins
4:40:07am :00:10 Engine turbo pumps at flight speed
4:40:12am :00:05 Engines at maximum thrust
4:40:17am :00:00 LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-10 TO THE ISS
4:49:02am +8:45 THIRD STAGE SHUTDOWN; SOYUZ ORBITAL INSERTION
AFTER BOOSTER FAILURE – LAUNCH UPDATES
Shortly after launch, there was an issue with the booster. Teams have confirmed the spacecraft separated from the booster and are in contact with the crew as the capsule returns in a ballistic decent mode.
Teams have confirmed the crew have landed and Nick Hague and Aleksey Ovchinin are in good condition.
The search and recovery team has reached the landing site, and the crew is out of the capsule and in good condition.
STATEMENT ON SOYUZ MS-10 LAUNCH ABORT POST BOOSTER FAILURE
NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are in good condition following today’s aborted launch. I’m grateful that everyone is safe. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted. Full statement below:
The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 p.m. in Baikonur) carrying American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft.
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. 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. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.
CREW IN GOOD CONDITION AFTER BOOSTER FAILURE
NASA Astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are seen in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. They are in good condition following their safe landing on Earth after a Soyuz booster failure after launch earlier. Images taken during briefing follow.
EXPEDITION 57 SPACE STATION STATUS BRIEFING
NASA held a news conference at noon EDT, Oct. 11, from Johnson Space Center in Houston, to provide a status update on the International Space Station following this morning’s Soyuz spacecraft abort during launch that ended with the safe landing of two Expedition 57 crew members. Participants are Kenny Todd, International Space Station Operations Integration Manager and Reid Wiseman, Deputy Chief Astronaut.
YouTube video follows:
Thank you for viewing this seven-part article compilation. As always, we wish all earth space-faring explorers well.
Written By: Mark Garcia NASA
UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. For this article, sub-headings were added to help detail the timeline from launch, booster failure, and the safe return of the spacemen to earth. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.
This was an historic event in human space travel. Fortunately, tragedy was averted.
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