The NASA chief also praised the cooperation between NASA and Roscosmos, adding that his agency wants this relationship to remain “strong.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine appeared overwhelmed with emotion during an interview about the Soyuz spacecraft launch failure that occurred on October 12.
“The NASA family – and this is critically important – the NASA family has to be so proud of all the people who worked so hard and prepared so well for this,” he said, describing the efforts of the specialists who rushed to rescue the crew of the ill-fated spacecraft.
“Nicole Mann was there with the (Nick Hague’s) family all day today; she’s an astronaut herself, in the same class as Nick Hague so they’re long-time friends and counterparts. To have her there supporting the family when, for a period of time we didn’t know…” Bridestine said, pausing for a second in an apparent attempt to get at “…what the situation was, and watching the NASA family go into action to make sure that all the information could be gathered, that our crew was safe – it really was a difficult day, and at the same time, in so many ways, an amazingly successful day.”
He also said that the US and Russian space agency Roscosmos have “a long and productive relationship” history which dates back to the Soyuz-Apollo program in 1975, and that NASA wants to make sure that this relationship “stays strong.”
The accident took place on Thursday, just minutes after 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. An emergency escape capsule allowed the crew to return to Earth safely.
The crash, which became the first failure of a manned space launch in modern Russian history, is being investigated by Russia's space agency Roscosmos.
All manned launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome have been suspended until the commission learns the cause of the failure.
Commenting on the accident, US Astronaut Nick Hague said that teams responsible for Thursday’s launch of a Soyuz spacecraft "were outstanding in ensuring our safety & returning us to family & friends."