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'Our toehold in space is at extreme risk': Russia's rocket failure has thrown astronaut access to the International Space Station into limbo

'Our toehold in space is at extreme risk': Russia's rocket failure has thrown astronaut access to the International Space Station into limbo
Reuters



A Soyuz rocket carrying a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut failed in mid-flight on Thursday.




The two crew members had a rough descent back to Earth, but survived without any apparent injury.




Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, is investigating the Soyuz rocket failure, but it's unknown how long this will take.




Soyuz is the only human-rated spacecraft available to NASA, Europe, Russia, and other partners of the International Space Station — but it is now grounded indefinitely.




SpaceX and Boeing are building new commercial ships to reach the space station, but they wouldn't help with the current situation.




Three people living aboard the $100-billion space station could even be forced to evacuate the orbiting laboratory in January 2019.



An astronaut and cosmonaut survived a harrowing mid-flight failure of a Russian Soyuz rocket on Thursday morning.
But human access to space is now on hold indefinitely while authorities investigate the launch failure.
After NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011 without a replacement, the US was left without its own spaceship to fly people to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
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