WATCH: Russia opens criminal probe over failed rocket launch

In this image released by NASA, the Soyuz rocket is launched with Expedition 57 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (NASA, Bill Ingalls, AFP)
In this image released by NASA, the Soyuz rocket is launched with Expedition 57 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (NASA, Bill Ingalls, AFP)

Russian investigators said they had opened a criminal probe into a failed rocket launch that caused a two-man crew to make an emergency landing shortly after blast-off to the ISS on Thursday.

"An investigative group has been formed and officials are currently examining the launch site, documents are being seized," the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

The probe would seek to determine whether safety regulations had been violated during construction, leading to massive damage, the statement said.

US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were rescued without injuries in Kazakhstan following the emergency landing earlier Thursday.

An "anomaly" with the booster led to the voyage to the International Space Station being aborted two minutes in, NASA said.

The Russian space industry has suffered a series of problems in recent years, including the loss of a number of satellites and cargo spacecraft.

Dmitry Rogozin, a firebrand nationalist politician who this year was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to head Roscosmos, earlier said he had ordered a state commission to probe the accident.

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