A Soyuz rocket carrying Hague and Ovchinin launched skyward from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday (Oct. 11) on a mission to the International Space Station, where the two space travelers were to join three other crewmembers already living aboard the orbiting lab.
They flew to the orbit taking Russia's Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft that blasted off on June 6 and they are scheduled to stay onboard the space station for 187 days.
Following a smooth liftoff, the Soyuz's booster malfunctioned between the first and second stages of separating, whereupon the crew was forced to abort the flight and switch to ballistic descent.
According to an announcement made by Roscosmos, it appears that the source of the urgent abort was a crash of elements in the time of the separation of the Soyuz-FG rocket's first phase.
Ovchinin recalled being violently shaken from side by side as the crew cabin separated from the rocket, followed by a force seven times stronger then gravity as the cabin plunged through the atmosphere, followed by the shock of the parachutes yanking open.
"They are constantly trying to build a ideal spacecraft, but it can't be flawless all the time, so we have contingencies in place and we have other fail-safe systems", he said.
Last week, the Soyuz MS-10 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with Russian Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague onboard, made an emergency landing after their rocket malfunctioned. He holds out a hand.
Air Force Colonel Nick Hague on Tuesday publicly described his close call.
"Any time you're launching yourself into space and your booster has a problem when you're going 1,800 metres per second, things are pretty dynamic and they happen very fast", he said.
Russia is planning its next manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in early December after a launch failure earlier this month, according to Sergei Krikalyov, executive director of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos. "You just try to celebrate the little gifts that you get, like walking the boys to school this morning".
The incident became the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history.