For the first time, both astronaut Nick Hague and his wife are sharing dramatic details about a failed rocket launch in October. Hague was in a Soyuz rocket headed for the International Space Station when a violent booster failure forced them to abort the mission mid-flight, 31 miles above earth.
“It was going perfect for the first two minutes,” Hague told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann. “And then all of a sudden there was this violent shaking side to side. … And the alarm’s going off. And I see a red light that’s lit up and it says that you’ve had an emergency with the booster.”
Hague now sees October’s launch as a success wrapped inside a failure. A faulty sensor had cost him his mission, but he was alive. He and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin landed safely.
“You were supposed go up for six months. You were back on Earth in 20 minutes,” Strassmann said. “What was that like?”
“Looking out the window and seeing space and seeing the curve of the Earth and just this split second of just utter disappointment about it’s not gonna happen – and we’re coming home,” Hague said.
His shot at space was also the dream of Catie Hague, his wife, and their two young sons.
“And at some point… the announcer stopped announcing. And the screens went green. And there was nothing,” Catie said. “I know something had gone wrong.”
But she said she didn’t fear the worst.
“I think I honestly mentally shut that out,” Catie said.
In 18 years of marriage, they never had a moment like this.
“What struck me was how long that hug lasted,” Strassmann said, referring to when Hague and Catie reunited.
“Yes. It was a long one,” Catie said. “And I’m pretty sure I said something along the lines of, ‘This might be a cause for divorce. And please don’t ever do that to me again.’ … I just didn’t want to let him go.”
“You realize in that moment, ‘Hey, this could have been really bad. And I am so lucky and thankful and happy to be standing here holding you,'” Hague said.
At the time, Hague admits worrying he might have lost his one chance at space. But in February, NASA will give him a second chance at the space station.
“Life doesn’t always work out the way you planned it. And more often than not, what defines you is how you bounce back from that,” Hague said.
Hague hopes to spend six months on the International Space Station doing scientific experiments. Catie said, of course, she’ll be nervous. But they both believe in what he’s doing, and that this time all the million little things that have to go right will go right.
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