Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin
© Yuri Kochetkov / Pool via
Nick Hague, top, and Alexey Ovchinin boarding a Soyuz spacecraft ahead of the October 2018 launch
Vladimir Putin has awarded the Order of Courage to a US astronaut for the bravery he showed during a failed rocket launch which was supposed to take him and his Russian crewmate to the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were all set to join the ISS in October 2018 when their Soyuz launch was dramatically aborted just minutes after take-off due to a booster malfunction.

It was the first such failure for a Russian manned space launch for decades.


Fortunately, the pair were able to safely make an emergency landing back on Earth in an escape pod, and were not harmed.

The award presented to Hague is for "the courage and high professionalism shown when performing his duty in conditions of increased risk to life in an emergency situation."

Hague and Ovchinin eventually continued with their mission to the ISS in March 2019 aboard a Soyuz rocket.