Search-and-rescue teams, including helicopters, are deployed at targeted and emergency landing zones as a routine measure during every crewed launch and landing, including the Oct. 4, 2018, space station crew return.

When a Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday at 4:47 a.m. EDT (0847 GMT), everything seemed fine — but just in case it wasn’t, search-and-rescue crews were stationed across the region, ready to jump into action.