NASA astronaut describes close call following failed launch

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The NASA astronaut who survived last week's failed launch and emergency landing says he knew he needed to stay calm.


Air Force Col. Nick Hague on Tuesday publicly described his close call. Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin were two minutes into their flight last Thursday from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station when the Soyuz rocket failed.


Their capsule ripped away from the rocket as designed and plummeted to Earth. Hague communicated in Russian throughout the more than half-hour ordeal.


Neither was injured.


Hague says he and his crewmate grinned at touchdown, shook hands and then joked about their short flight. He says he'd rather be in orbit, getting ready for a spacewalk, but is grateful to be alive.

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