The Soyuz MS-04 rocket that was carrying three American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station malfunctioned just after it took off from Kazakhstan at 2:25 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.
The cause of the launch accident has not yet been determined, the agency said. The crew is expected to attempt a launch attempt within the next few days.
The crew has sufficient food and water on board the International Space Station, the agency said. NASA plans to make the crew an emergency backup to use to conduct experiments and extra work as needed.
Those aboard the space station have been “welcomed back by co-workers and friends who congratulated them on achieving an international milestone in human spaceflight,” NASA said in a statement.
The Soyuz MS-04 rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin aboard. They had been scheduled to take off on a supply mission to the ISS on Wednesday.
Fernando Arraes and James Mulholland, two American astronauts at the station, flew to the Kazakh steppe early to allow them to support the astronauts, NASA said.
“Our deepest appreciation to everyone at Baikonur cosmodrome and NASA centers for keeping us informed about the status of the launch until full contact was restored,” the astronauts said in a statement.
Aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Gerst installed a docking adapter known as a “Dnepr” that will allow future Russian docking port ships to perform docking maneuvers, making the station more compatible with future Russian spacecraft.