Astronaut Karen Nyberg, who recently returned from a five-and-a-half-month-stay on the International Space Station (ISS), shared her experience in space during a live talk at NASA headquarters on Monday.
Crew members take the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get both to and back from the ISS, although re-entry is a less comfortable ride, according to Nyberg.
Nyberg shared a short clip looking out the module’s window as the astronauts come hurling back to Earth, a trip that takes less than 3.5 hours. A screengrab from the video is seen above.
The spacecraft “launches like a rocket, but comes in like a glider,” Nyberg said. The capsule sways violently after it drops through the Earth’s atmosphere, she added.
Even though a parachute and rocket engines are used to slow the vehicle down before it plops down in a remote region of Kazakhstan, it’s still a rough landing.
“I felt like I wanted to throw up,” Nyberg said, referring to her landing last November. Nyberg says she couldn’t walk by herself at first, but recovered fairly quickly. “By the time I got back to Houston, I was feeling good,” she said.
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