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Russian news agencies reported that the crew had safely made an emergency landing and were in radio contact and that rescuers were en route to pick them up.

USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin parachuted to the ground safely in their capsule after a booster on the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft failed, NASA and Russia's space agency said.

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying Hague and Ovchinin left the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the International Space Station at 2:40 p.m. local time on Thursday.

"The launch had a problem with the booster (rocket) a few seconds after the first stage separation and we can confirm now that the crew has started to go into ballistic descent mode", the voiceover on a NASA livestream from mission control in Houston said.

According to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian part of the International Space Station (ISS), the flight is being planned for the spring of next year.

Because the Soyuz spacecraft did not reach orbit at the point of this booster failure, the crew was forced to make a rapid ballistic descent likely under high g-forces. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin safely parachuted to the ground in the Soyuz capsule 42 minutes after liftoff, according to statements from NASA and Roscosmos. The capsule landed about 20 kilometres east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

The incident comes as the US has been making progress in its quest to end Russia's monopoly on manned flights to the ISS by encouraging private companies to conduct launches. Nasa tentatively plans to send its first crew to the ISS using a SpaceX craft instead of a Soyuz next April. They had reached a good height so it was possible to descend in their capsule'.

The aborted mission dealt another blow to the troubled Russian space program that now serves as the only way to deliver astronauts to the orbiting outpost.

"There was an issue with the booster from today's launch".

Two astronauts have made an emergency landing after the rocket they were travelling in malfunctioned.

Family members breathlessly awaited the result of the rocket launch, the culmination of a childhood dream for Hague, a 43-year-old Hoxie native and U.S. Air Force colonel.

For years, since NASA's final shuttle mission launched in 2011, the USA has relied on Russian rockets to send astronauts to the International Space Station, which is largely funded by America taxpayer dollars.

Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.

Thursday's failure was the first manned launch failure for the Russian space program since September 1983 when a Soyuz exploded on the launch pad. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted". Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of the SpaceX's Dragon v2 and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules. Unmanned launches of Soyuz rockets might also be suspended, Interfax said.