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Spaceflight is a life-changing experience, giving astronauts a new perspective of the Earth. although most videos of astronauts show them floating inside the International Station, retired NASA astronaut Jack Fischer shares his experience from when he and his crew landed back to Earth from the ISS in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

According to CNet, Fischer posted his experiences on his Twitter account, which shows that spaceflight is not an easy task, and landing could be tough. Together with him in the 2017 spaceflight were NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin.

 Retired NASA Astronaut Shares What It's Like to Land on Earth, Compares It to a Series of Car Crashes
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
On March 12, 2015, shortly after local sunrise over central Asia, this Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft floated over a sea of golden clouds during its descent by parachute through planet Earth's dense atmosphere. On board were Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). Touch down was at approximately 10:07 p.m. EDT (8:07 a.m. March 12, Kazakh time) southeast of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. The three were returning from low Earth orbit, after almost six months on the International Space Station as members of the Expedition 41 and Expedition 42 crews.

Landing Back to Earth is a Series of Car Crashes

Fischer said that their experience on their way back on Earth involved three minutes of shakes, rattles, and bumps as they reenter the atmosphere and land on the surface. "Some astronauts compare it to a series of car crashes... and I wouldn't disagree," Fischer wrote in Twitter.

Furthermore, most images released to the public are of astronauts floating while doing their tasks inside the space station calmly around microgravity. But the video of Fischer and his crew members inside the capsule gives a new insight into what an astronaut would experience in a spaceflight, particularly during landing.

Contrary to how they would calmly float in the ISS and have pizza parties or do space gardening, landing back to Earth's surface is no walk on the park. The videos he shared on Twitter were proof of that experience.

Fischer worked for the US space agency for nine years before returning to the US Air Force in 2018. Although it has been four years since he and his crew landed, Fischer fondly looked back to his bumpy space travel between the low Earth orbit where the ISS is located, and the planet.

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Landing Back on Earth From Space

Former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao wrote in Space.com that anticipation of returning to Earth builds as the return date gets closer and when the replacement crew arrives. Astronauts start to look forward to going home and be reunited with their loved ones as they look back with a satisfaction of a job well done.

So, when the moment arrives and astronauts cramped inside a Soyuz capsule or a spacecraft back to Earth, that is when they experience the bumpiest journey in their space travel.

According to an article in BBC Bitesize, astronauts would rehearse for a week for the undocking and descent procedures. The undocking sequence would be the first step in going home as the spacecraft unhooks from the ISS. Then mission control uploads the data needed to get home to the computer onboard the computer.

The crew will monitor the descent angle and the de-orbit procedure begins to slow the spacecraft down as it divides into three parts, and the descent module begins its re-entry to Earth's atmosphere.

Meanwhile, its heat shield mechanism works overtime to protect the spacecraft and the crew inside. By the time it is already 8.5 kilometers above the ground, the capsule releases a huge parachute and it slowly descends to Earth's surface with the help of gravity. A ground crew will be sent to the landing site to welcome the astronauts back to Earth.


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