Search and rescue teams were scrambled to the touchdown location as NASA revealed the descent meant the Russian-built Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft had to take "a sharper angle of landing compared to normal".
German Astronaut Alexander Gerst, who is onboard the ISS, captured these images of the failed Soyuz launch.
NASA rookie Nick Hague and second-time flyer Aleksey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency were setting off for a six-month mission at the International Space Station Thursday, on a relatively rare two-man launch.
It was to be the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013.
The ISS crew was getting regular updates on the mission, as you'd expect, and learned about the rocket failure just shortly after it happened. Today it has been shown again how great the Soyuz is: despite a misstart, the crew was safely brought back to Earth.
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Kenny Todd, space station manager at NASA, said that the existing crew can stay on ISS till January and, if Russian Federation doesn't resume the Soyuz launches by that time, the flight controllers can operate the station without anyone onboard.
"We're tightening our seatbelts", Ovchinin said on the video.
NASA and Roscosmos officials say they are launching an investigation into exactly what went wrong with the rocket and why.
Even if the Soyuz spacecraft is cleared for launch before December, Hadfield said, it could end up carrying astronauts from Thursday's launch rather than the next scheduled crew.
Yesterday's problem occurred when the first and second stages of a booster rocket, launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur in the central Asian country, were separating, triggering emergency systems soon after launch. "Thanks to the rescue force of over 1000 search and rescue professionals!" One photo showed Hague smiling, and another showed him next to Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's space agency chief.
All Russian manned space launches have been suspended after the incident, according to Russia's RIA news agency.
A Soyuz capsule attached to the station which they use to ride back to Earth is designed for a 200-day mission, meaning that their stay in orbit could only be extended briefly. At present, the Soyuz-FG is the only rocket that is capable of delivering personnel to the orbiting outpost. NASA purchased seats aboard Soyuz capsules for access to the ISS following the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011. The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said a state commission has already been established to study the accident.
A recording of communications between the space station and NASA stated that Hague and Ovchinin had experienced 6.7 G's - about the same as Apollo astronauts felt during reentry, according to Air and Space magazine.