PEABODY, Kan. Hoxie native Nick Hague was on board a Russian Soyuz rocket forced to make an emergency landing Thursday.
Hague is okay and reunited with family after the emergency landing, but it was tense minutes for family here in Kansas watching.
Hague’s family gathered together for a launch watch party in Peabody.
A friend who hosted the event says there was excitement and anxiety, and then fear as something went wrong just before 4 a.m. in Kansas.
"It's been a long day," friend and fellow astronaut Victor Glover says.
Hague's family spent the day with Glover who spoke at Peabody-Burns Elementary. It's the same school Hague attended.
We were shown a picture of Hague in 5th grade at the elementary school as he dreamed of a future in the stars.
"We liked to sit up on top of our roofs and look at the stars, had our telescopes, our little telescopes,” says Lindsey Marshall, Hague’s childhood friend.
Even tragedies in space didn't deter his future as an astronaut.
"I was sitting next to Nick when the Challenger happened," Marshall says. "We were sitting in our library class when it happened with our friend Ethan, we were all watching it, and I remember that moment so clearly."
Hague's launch will also be a vivid memory now.
Marshall hosted the family watch party in the early morning hours at Coneburg Inn in Peabody.
"We heard failure, we heard booster and then there was a whole lot of very still, silent, I looked around and everyone had tears in their eyes, it got real emotional real fast,” Marshall says.
Thankfully, Hague landed safely, but the Kansan didn't reach the International Space Station.
"I'm sad for him that he didn't get to complete this mission, but that doesn't mean there won't be another one, because it's Nick. If you know Nick, if he could he'd probably go back up today," Marshall says.
We’re told Hague’s immediate family is with him in Russia.
His extended family in Kansas planned to reunite again Thursday night at the same place.