WASHINGTON, October 10. /TASS/. NASA astronaut Nick Hague, who has been awarded Russia’s Order of Courage for surviving last year’s botched space launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome, said he would be honored to wear this medal.
"I am honored to be awarded the Russian Order of Courage. I have learned that courage in the face of adversity is defined by how you respond," the astronaut told TASS. "Through first-hand experience, I have witnessed true courage and leadership from my Commander Alexey Ovchinin, our international team of trainers and operators, and the Search and Rescue Forces who brought us home to our loved ones," said Hague, who was with Ovchinin onboard the Soyuz rocket, which aborted shortly after the launch in October 2018 due to a failure of the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle.
"For all of them I will wear this medal with pride," the astronaut stressed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on awarding the Order of Courage to NASA astronaut Nick Hague on October 8. 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 Alexey Ovchinin (the commander of the Soyuz MS-10) and NASA astronaut Nick 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 the Earth on October 3.