Mission Accomplished: How Do Astronauts Return to Earth from the ISS?
Many consider being an astronaut as a dream job. There's nothing cooler than working on a floating science laboratory in microgravity. It sure takes some getting used to, but waking up to the view of the Earth from space is a job a lot of people would die for. But what most people don't know is that to get back to Earth, astronauts would need to survive a grueling and bumpy re-entry to Earth.
British astronaut Tim Peake of the European Space Agency (ESA) is scheduled to return back to Earth this Saturday, June 18, after successfully completing his 170-duty aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Together with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut and Commander Yuri Malenchenko, Peake will return to Earth and land on Kazakhstan using the Soyuz space capsule. Soyuz will undock from the ISS at exactly 6:52 am on June 18, according to a report by the Telegraph.
The crew who stayed aboard the ISS had their fair share of out-of-this-world experiences. Peake joined and completed the London Marathon while on the ISS, while Kopra was the first person to enter the first expandable space module called BEAM docked onto the space station.
But their challenging job doesn't end there. The trio will undergo a bumpy descent to the planet. The astronauts will board the Soyuz spacecraft, a rather "cramped" transport, to begin their journey back to Earth. Soyuz will travel through space at a speed of up to 17,000 mph to enter into Earth's atmosphere, according to a report by Daily Mail.
According to the report, the trio, although fully protected by their spacesuit, will be subjected to temperatures up to 1,650 degrees Celsius. Aside from that, the three-hour descent will be a struggle between the Soyuz and a gravitational force three to four times stronger than that of the Earth.
ESA is preparing to welcome the 44-year old and former pilot Tim Peake back home. Peake, Kopra and Malenchenko are already preparing for their homecoming and are saying their goodbye's to the remaining ISS crew.
Expedition 47 is coming to an end - it's been great working with this crew! (pic taken inside the new BEAM) pic.twitter.com/mEBEKjUOLo— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) June 16, 2016
To slow down the spacecraft and to prepare for a "bumpy" arrival, parachutes and retro-rockets will be deployed. The astronauts are expected to arrive on Kazakhstan Steppe at around 10:15 am.