NASA official: Tense moments but calm crew in aborted launch
NASA’s chief heard one reassuring sound over the radio link after the aborted launch of a Soyuz capsule with an American and a Russian aboard.
It was U.S. astronaut Nick Hague calmly relaying information in Russian to flight controllers.
“My reaction was, ‘things aren’t going well and he’s not speaking English,’” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters Friday, after Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin returned to the Star City training center outside Moscow from their abruptly shortened mission.
“So, in other words, he was calm, he was cool, he was collected, he was doing what he was trained to do,” said Bridenstine, who was at the Baikonur Cosmodrome to watch the launch.
Two minutes after Hague and Ovchinin blasted off Thursday for the International Space Station, their rocket failed, triggering an emergency landing. Their capsule fell from an altitude of about 31 miles at a sharper-than-normal angle, building up gravitational forces at 6-7 times those on Earth.