It has reached headlines when the famous Russian space capsule, Soyuz MS-02, has touched down in Kazakhstan Monday, April 11. The passengers of the said capsule include the ISS Expedition 50 Commander, Shane Kimbrough who have stayed in space for nearly 189 days. Other passengers of the Soyuz MS-02 include Flight engineers Sergey Ryshikov who have spent 173 days in space and Andrey Borisenko who has spent 337 days in space on two flights.
Soyuz space vehicles have been known to transport astronauts from the International Space Station to the Earth and vice versa for several years now. It plays such an integral role in space travel that NASA even notes that this vehicle acts like a "lifeboat" for the space station. In fact, at least one Soyuz vehicle is docked to the ISS at all times in case of an emergency.
As for the landing, there are four parachutes that will be deployed. The first set includes two pilot parachutes and after, a larger parachute will be deployed to slow the speed further. Then, another parachute changes the angle of the capsule to avoid its bottom from heating up. Without wheels or landing gears, the Soyuz is equipped with two engines that will automatically turn on one second before landing to further slowdown the speed of the capsule.
It was in 2003 when the Soyuz has been titled as the World's Safest Space Craft, based on a report from ABC News. Based on this report, the Soyuz has been designed with multiple margins of safety. It is said that there is a special safety mechanism for every stage of a flight ensuring that the crew will have an option for safety at all times.
For instance, there is an engine specifically for the purpose of instantaneously ejecting the module when the need arises in contrast to other vehicles which can take several minutes before the module is successfully ejected. Another safety feature that the Soyuz has is that the docking feature is automated and it requires little to no human intervention for docking.