TWO astronauts have survived a dramatic emergency landing after the boosters on their rocket failed en route to the International Space Station.
Russian Alexey Ovchinin and American Tyler Hague are said to be in good condition following their botched launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this morning.
The Soyuz MS-10 mission was due to dock at the ISS around 3pm but the two men had to abort the mission shortly after launching.
NASA said there was an "issue with the booster" and the crew was "returning to Earth in a ballistic descent mode".
Footage from inside the Soyuz apparently showed the two men being shaken around violently at the moment of the malfunction.
A senior Russian official has since said the country is suspending manned space launches pending a probe into the booster rocket failure.
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said the Soyuz capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster when it failed 123 seconds after launching.
He said all manned launches will be suspended pending an investigation into the cause of the failure.
Borisov added that Russia will fully share all relevant information with the US.
Witnesses said the launch was going smoothly in its initial stages and the problem must have occurred at high altitude.
Russian news agencies report the crew safely made an emergency landing and were in radio contact.
Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "Thank God the crew is alive."
He added: "At the moment, the crew has been evacuated from the capsule. We continue to work with the crew."
The failed mission will be hugely embarrassing to Putin who has claimed Russia will launch a mission to March as early as next year.
Speaking in a new documentary released in March, he said: "We are planning unmanned, and later manned launches.
"The closest mission is very soon, we are planning to launch a mission to Mars in 2019."
Search and rescue teams headed to the site they landed, around 20 miles east of the city of Dzhezkazgan.
Spacecraft returning from the ISS normally land in that region.
The men were on their way to the ISS for a relatively rare two-man mission which was due to last six months.
It was the first time Hague, who became a NASA astronaut in 2013, had gone into space.
Ovchinin meanwhile spent six months at the ISS back in 2016.
Although diplomatic relations between Russia and the US are tense, the superpowers continue to cooperate in space exploration.