Q: This Kansas native was headed for the International Space Station until something went wrong with his Soyuz spacecraft. Instead, the mission was aborted in mid-flight and the spacecraft safely returned to Earth. What's the name of the Kansas astronaut whose spaceflight was called off just two minutes after liftoff?
A: Nick Hague
Kansas native Nick Hague and his Russian colleague, cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin, were aboard a Soyuz spacecraft and headed for the International Space Station when something went wrong. Just two minutes after takeoff from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the two-man crew had to abort the mission. The crew capsule where they were sitting started shaking as the massive booster failed to separate properly from the rocket’s upper stage. The Soyuz MS-10 capsule deployed an emergency abort system that blasted the capsule away from the booster, sending Hague and Ovchinin to safety.
The 34-minute drop back down was relatively uneventful. The capsule’s parachutes deployed and the craft landed in Kazakhstan, where search-and-rescue crews quickly picked up the team. Afterwards, Hague said he didn’t know if or when he would fly again, but the head of Russia's state space corporation, Dmitry Rogozin, said he expects both Hague and Ovchinin to head to space in the spring of 2019. Hague, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Belleville, Kansas. The 43-year-old astronaut graduated from Hoxie High School and considers Hoxie his hometown.