The two-man crew of a Soyuz rocket made a successful emergency landing Thursday after an engine problem on lift-off to the International Space Station, in a major setback for the beleaguered Russian space industry.
The pair are in contact with ground control, the space agency said.
Over the past few years the Russian space industry has suffered a series of problems including the loss of a number of satellites and other spacecraft. The rocket was launched was from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0210 IST.
"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.
The descent was sharper than usual meaning the crew was subjected to a greater G-force, but they have been prepared for this scenario in training, the commentator said.
A source in the Russian space agency told AFP that rescue workers had reached the crew.
The Kremlin confirmed the men had survived. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: "Thank God the cosmonauts are alive". Roscosmos's online stream of the launch cut out shortly after lift-off.
The International Space Station - a rare point of cooperation between Moscow and Washington - has been orbiting the Earth at roughly 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998 and will mark its 20th birthday in November.
Rogozin was flying to the scene of the emergency landing, the space agency said.
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