A thumbs up, it is with this gesture specific to the winners that Thomas Pesquet signs his return to Earth. On the night of Monday to Tuesday, around 4:33 am, the French astronaut landed off Florida accompanied by three of his traveling companions. Two Americans: Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur as well as a Japanese: Akihiko Hoshide.
Returning to Earth: a real technical challenge
“Getting back to earth is as difficult as taking off.” precites Sébastien Rouquette, engineer at CNES and head of experiments for the Alpha mission at Cnes in Toulouse. There are many parameters to take into account to succeed in this tour de force. The Crew Dragon capsule had to enter the atmosphere at a precise angle and speed so as not to burn or bounce off the upper atmosphere and get lost in space. The weather conditions are also very important as the specialist explains. “In order to be able to calculate the exact arrival of the astronauts and send the rescue team to them as quickly as possible, the sea must be calm and there must be little wind.” The group of astronauts had to postpone their return scheduled for Sunday night to Monday.
The body of astronauts put to the test by gravity
The crew left their capsule on stretchers. After 200 days in space, the body of astronauts is no longer used to terrestrial conditions. This one thus undergoes a true evil of “Earth” when it finds the terrestrial gravity. “The simple fact of walking or being carried, it disturbs their perception of the environment. Particularly at the level of the inner ear. describes Sébastien Rouquette. This ailment results in nausea and dizziness.
A trip to space to develop our scientific knowledge
During his stay in the ISS, the English astronaut carried out many experiments impossible to carry out on Earth for the Cnes of Toulouse. These touched on a variety of subjects ranging from material physics to biology. He notably participated in an educational experiment around the blob, which is studied a lot in Toulouse laboratories. After his landing, the French astronaut will leave for Cologne for three weeks at the European Astronaut Center. He will participate in a program to study the effects of returning to earth on the human body.
By Corentin Bell