A Soyuz capsule carrying a U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut completed an emergency landing in Russia on Oct. 11 about 40 min. after the first ballistic abort in the history of the International Space Station (ISS) program.                                                                       

First reports indicate astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are in “good condition” and in contact with search-and-rescue teams sent to recover them, NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean said.

The booster anomaly was identified about 3 min., 15 sec. after liftoff at 4:40 a.m. Eastern time, triggering a ballistic re-entry of the capsule and subjecting the crew to higher-than-normal G forces.

“It is a known mode of descent that crewmembers have gone through before,” Dean said.

The booster anomaly has not been identified or described.

Hague and Ovchinin, the crew of Expedition 57, had planned to complete a four-orbit, 6-hr. journey to the ISS.

They would have joined Commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev, who arrived at the ISS in June.

Roscosmos is forming a state commission to investigate the incident, Dean said. But the Russian space agency will not be holding a press conference today, she added.

Soyuz used its launch abort system for the first time in September 1983 after a Soyuz T rocket caught fire on the launch pad seconds before liftoff. The capsule’s launch escape system pulled the crew away from the rocket seconds before the vehicle exploded.

In 1975, a crewed Soyuz rocket suffered an inflight failure, causing an abort 295 sec. after launch. The crew landed safely, but experienced forces up to 21g during descent.

The Soyuz failure leaves the ISS partnership at least temporarily without crew transportation options. Boeing and SpaceX, which have been developing commercial space taxis in partnership with NASA, are not expected to be ready for operational crew rotation missions until mid- to late 2019.