Images of a trio of astronauts returning to Earth on Sunday after a stay on the International Space Station show the incredible impact they withstand when their capsule collides with the Earth.
Expedition 41 carried Commander Max Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, NASA flight engineer Reid Wiseman and flight engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency l.
After 165 days in space, their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft undocked from the Rassvet module on the ISS and headed home.
Here’s the moment of impact on the Kazakhstan steppe near the town of Arkalyk:
NASA released this pic showing the mark the capsule left. As you can see, if the hit wasn’t enough, the trio then got dragged quite a ways by the parachute:
But… survival! Suraev, Wiseman and Gerst were then helped into reclining chairs and comfy sleeping bags so they could to begin their adaptation to gravity. (Note the low-tech wooden runners on the sled – every bit the 330km away from what the trio were dealing with onboard the ISS.)
No soft Pacific splashdowns when you’re on a Russian mission.
Here’s a video of the whole process, including the ceremonial handover of command of the complex from Suraev to NASA flight engineer Barry Wilmore:
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