"The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is the only vehicle which is currently able to send astronauts to space and bring them home form the International Space Station and it has been doing this for decades. It is designed to be very safe … You know the complexity of returning a capsule [with the crew] which should be jettisoned from the engine and land with the use of a parachute. Soyuz is designed for accomplishing the return in any conditions," Battiston said in a video address on Thursday.
On Thursday, an accident occurred during the liftoff of a Soyuz-FG launch vehicle carrying the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft with two new members of the International Space Station (ISS) crew on board — Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague. The crew has safely returned to Earth in a jettisoned escape capsule.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos has launched an inquiry into the accident. A source at the Baikonur space center told Sputnik on Thursday that all Russian manned launches had been suspended after the Soyuz accident.
Russian Prime Minister Yury Borisov expressed hope that NASA would treat the situation with understanding.