MOSCOW, December 2. /TASS/. 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.