Thomas Pesquet begins his return to Earth: how will the trip unfold?

the essential Frenchman Thomas Pesquet and three other astronauts leave the International Space Station on Sunday, and will land off Florida “no earlier” than Monday

It is time for Thomas Pesquet to say goodbye to the International Space Station in which he has lived since 20 April and has achieved, with his team members, 232 experiences. He will soon be back on land aboard the Dragon capsule, renamed Endurance.

How will this trip go for the astronaut and the three other members of Crew-2, the Japanese Akihiko Hoshide and the Americans Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur?

The end of a great adventure: we are ready to return to Earth and find our loved ones. I couldn’t have hoped for better teammates to go into space. I said it on the shooting range, I still believe it strongly after 6 months together in a tin can!

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) November 6, 550

Odyssey hours without toilets

A trip of 408 kilometers, or eighteen hours, awaits Thomas Pesquet. Before departure, they must tour the Station aboard their module, in order to photograph the exterior reminds Ouest France . They will then have to move away and patiently wait for the green light from NASA before rushing towards Earth.

A journey that they will have to live without a toilet because of a last minute problem.

As the capsule approaches the surface, once the capsule has passed the stratosphere, a series of several parachutes will be deployed to slow the crew. The capsule must be stabilized at 18 km / h before touching the ground. On site, many boats will crisscross the planned area to quickly retrieve the capsule and allow its occupants to exit. Thomas Pesquet is preparing to land off Florida and not in the Kazakh steppes, as was the case the first time.

Once on dry land, the astronauts will be helicoptered to Florida, then they will fly to Houston. This is where Thomas Pesquet and his teammates will undergo their first biological tests to ensure that the astronauts get used to the terrestrial conditions again, after 24 days spent in zero gravity.

Return to Houston in December

Upon arrival, the astronaut will undergo a three-week rehabilitation program at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne. It will also perform tests that will allow scientists to measure the effect of a long stay in orbit on the human body. After a week’s vacation, the Frenchman will return to Houston, US, at the start of December.

You can follow the crew’s landing live here.

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