ASTRONAUTS Alexey Ovchinin and American Tyler Hague are good condition after they made a dramatic emergency landing following the malfunction of their Soyuz rocket. They were en route to the International Space Station after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan when the three-stage booster suffered an emergency shutdown. What is the Russian Soyuz rocket? Soyuz – which means union in Russian – is the name given to series of spacecraft and rockets originally developed in the Soviet era. The spacecraft are designed to carry crews of three in its cramped quarters and while it is one of the oldest designs it is also one of the safest. Over the years the spacecraft has been continuously upgraded and has become the workhorse of the International Space Station, ferrying astronauts back and forth from it. The Soyuz rocket has now made 1700 manned and unmanned launches, making it the most frequently used launch vehicle in the world. The rocket consists of three stages that provide thrust at various points in the flight until the Soyuz capsule finally settles into orbit around the Earth. Stage one consists of four boosters, each 65 feet in length. Together, they provide the main thrust… Read full this story
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