The Nasa astronaut who survived last week’s failed launch and emergency landing has said he knew he needed to stay calm.

Air Force Colonel Nick Hague on Tuesday publicly described his close call.

Mr Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin were two minutes into their flight last Thursday from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station when the Soyuz rocket failed.

Kazakhstan Russia Space StationNick Hague walks to the rocket (Yuri Kochetkov/AP)

Their capsule ripped away from the rocket as designed and plummeted to Earth.

Mr Hague communicated in Russian throughout the more than half-hour ordeal.

Neither was injured.

Kazakhstan Russia Space StationThe Soyuz MS-10 space capsule in a field after an emergency landing (Russian Defence Ministry/ AP)

Mr Hague said he and his crewmate grinned at touchdown, shook hands and then joked about their short flight.

He said he would rather be in orbit, getting ready for a spacewalk, but is grateful to be alive.