Thomas returns to Earth – watch live

Science & Exploration


After nearly 200 days in house it’s time to return to planet Earth for ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide and NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur.

Dinner for ten

Today at 16:45 GMT (17:45 CET) they may say farewell to their colleagues, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos astronauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov and enter their Crew Dragon capsule for the return residence.Watch the return live on ESA Web TV channel 2, from farewell to hatch closure, undocking to splashdown off the coast of Florida. It shall be an intense journey that may see the astronauts circle Earth round six occasions. The 4 astronauts are anticipated to arrive on Earth at 03:33 GMT (04:33 CET).

International Space Station in 2021

The departing Crew-2 will placed on their spacesuits that may shield them in case of emergency similar to a lack of stress or fireplace.The hatches between the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour and the International Space Station will shut and be checked for airtightness – a course of that may take about an hour.Undocking is a gentle push off the Station because the hooks holding the spacecraft to the outpost are launched, scheduled for 19:05 GMT (20:05 CET).Before they head on their method, the Dragon’s thrusters will fireplace to orchestrate a sluggish and sleek fly-around of the International Space Station, an imposing final view of the outpost for the crew inside that may take nearly two hours.

Dragon return from International Space Station – infographic

After the fly-around Crew-2 will distance themselves extra from the Space Station and begin circling Earth earlier than kicking within the remaining section of the voyage.At 02:33 GMT (03:33 CET) the Dragon’s trunk used for exterior or unpressurised cargo shall be discarded. It doesn’t survive re-entry and is left to fritter away harmlessly within the ambiance.The Dragon now consists of solely the touchdown capsule with the 4 astronauts inside. A really lengthy braking burn is subsequent: the thrusters fireplace for over 16 minutes to decelerate and put the spacecraft on a path to splashdown off the coast of Florida.Passing by way of our ambiance, the heat-shield protects the spacecraft and its passengers from intense warmth brought on by the friction of flying at quick speeds. The warmth generated from the friction is so excessive the spacecraft turns into surrounded by a ball of plasma, reducing all radio communication for over 5 minutes.So referred to as drogue chutes are deployed roughly 5 kilometres above Earth, at round 03:29 GMT (04:29 CET). These small parachutes are dragged by the wind and pulled up like a kite to launch the primary parachutes. This happens roughly three minutes from splashdown. From this second the capsule carrying the 4 astronaut will glide down on the parachutes and await influence with the ocean.A ship shall be close by and are available to accumulate the capsule and welcome the 4 astronauts residence. From there they take a helicopter to mainland Florida, USA, after which aircrafts to their locations. Thomas will change planes and get on a transatlantic flight to land in Cologne, Germany, accompanied by his flight surgeon.

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