Hague was bestowed the prestigious state award for his bravery and professionalism displayed during last year’s abortive launch of a Soyuz manned spacecraft
Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin and US astronaut Nick Hague
Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos chief, Dmitry Rogozin handed the Order of Courage to US astronaut Nick Hague for his bravery and professionalism displayed during last year’s abortive launch of a Soyuz manned spacecraft.
The Energia Space Rocket Corporation and the Kompozit Research and Production Association received certificates of merit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier signed a decree on awarding the Order of Courage to NASA astronaut Hague. Hague was bestowed the prestigious state award "for courage and high professionalism shown while performing his duties in the conditions of an increased risk to life when an emergency situation occurred at the Baikonur cosmodrome."
A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome to the International Space Station (ISS) on October 11, 2018. On board the spacecraft were Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin (the commander of the Soyuz MS-10) and NASA astronaut Hague.
Following a smooth liftoff, the Soyuz’s booster malfunctioned between the first and second stages of separating, whereupon the crew was forced to abort the flight and switch to ballistic descent. The manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft ended up landing in the Kazakh steppe. The crew was not hurt. This was the first emergency situation with the launch of a manned spacecraft over the past 35 years.
The incident-probing commission announced that the emergency situation occurred after the nozzle lid of the oxidizer tank did not open due to the deformation of the stages’ separation contact sensor. The sensor was damaged during the assembly of the rocket’s first stage at the Baikonur cosmodrome.
Ovchinin and Hague flew to the International Space Station on March 14, 2019 and returned to Earth on October 3.
Soyuz capsule that flew emergency abort lands on display in Moscow
A Russian space capsule that carried its crew to a landing after the rocket it was atop broke apart mid-flight has touched down in Moscow as a monument to mission safety.
The Soyuz MS-10 descent module that on Oct. 11, 2018 made an emergency return to Earth with cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and astronaut Nick Hague was unveiled as part of a new installation outside of the headquarters of the Russian space agency Roscosmos on Monday (Dec. 2).
"What happened proves the most important thing: there is nothing more important than flight safety," said Dmitry Rogozin, director general of Roscosmos. "We decided to put the descent module here, next to the head office of the State Corporation Roscosmos, for the simple reason that we all need to remember that day and not forget about our duty that we must do everything so that our space program works without failures."
The monument displays the gumdrop-shaped craft atop a raised granite base backdropped by a rising wall that is adorned with the Roscosmos insignia and the inscription, "Descent Module, Crew Capsule, Soyuz MS-10" in Cyrillic. A plaque mounted in front of the spacecraft details its history.
Launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a mission to deliver Ovchinin and Hague to the International Space Station, the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft executed an abort two minutes into its ascent after its Soyuz FG rocket's first and second stages collided during separation. The MS-10 vehicle fired its thrusters to get clear of the failing booster and then followed a ballistic trajectory, reaching an apogee of 58 miles (93 kilometers) before landing 250 miles (402 kilometers) from the launch site on the steppe of Kazakhstan.
The entire flight lasted just under 20 minutes long.
An investigation later found that the launch failure was the result of a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's assembly at the cosmodrome.
Ovchinin and Hague, having survived the abort, launched again in March aboard Soyuz MS-12. They returned from the space station in early October.
On Monday, the two crewmates attended the monument's dedication and helped to unveil their original spacecraft from under a white drape.
Hague was also honored. Rogozin presented the NASA astronaut with the Order of Courage, a Russian award that recognizes selfless acts of courage and valor.
"Nick, you deserve to get this decoration," said Rogozin, as he pinned the medal to Hague's U.S. Air Force uniform, according to state media reports.
The director general thanked both Ovchinin and Hague for their "courage, self-control and the highest professionalism shown in these 'difficult, difficult minutes,'" Roscosmos described on its website.
The MS-10 spacecraft was only the third Soyuz to fly an abort, after a similar in-flight rocket failure in 1975 and a fire on the launch pad in 1983. The Soyuz MS-10 launch was the 139th flight of a Soyuz vehicle.
Roscosmos cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin (at far left) and NASA astronaut Nick Hague (second from right) are joined by Roscosmos director general Dmitry Rogozin and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins at the dedication of a monument to the Soyuz MS-10 aborted space mission outside of Roscosmos' headquarters in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Roscosmos)