BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who successfully returned to Earth from the International Space Station, attended a NASA news conference tuesday to review their experiences as they returned to Earth aboard SpaceX’s manned Dragon spacecraft.
The spacecraft is wrapped in a plasma layer when it returns to the atmosphere.
On Sunday, local time, Benken and Hurley crashed through the Earth’s atmosphere at 25 times the speed of spaceX’s manned Dragon spacecraft, slowing down before landing safely off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
The spill announced the end of a two-month mission by Benken and Hurley: to fly the SpaceX Dragon to the International Space Station and return, becoming the first astronauts to board a commercial spacecraft.
It’s like being in an animal.
Every step of the return trip was scheduled, but judging by the experience of the astronauts inside the spacecraft, it may not feel as smooth as it seems.
“For landing, I would say it exceeded my expectations with Doug,” Benken said at a news conference Tuesday. “
Astronauts Benken and Hurley.
While they are happy with the return journey, Benken adds, “it feels like we’re in the animals.” They will offer advice to help SpaceX and NASA improve the manned Dragon spacecraft to make future astronauts feel “slightly more comfortable.”
The key moment for the return trip was the separation of the capsule from the non-pressurized module (trunk) at the bottom of the spacecraft, which opened its parachute as it approached the Gulf of Mexico. “It feels very much like someone hitting the back of the seat with a baseball bat.” Benken said.
This bump first appeared when the capsule abandoned the non-pressurized module. The non-pressurized capsule is equipped with fuel tanks, solar panels and other hardware that astronauts no longer need. From here, the return trip becomes bumpy.
The process was bumpy.
Once inside the atmosphere, the manned Dragon spacecraft “comes alive” and the booster fires in the right direction, Benken said. At this point, the astronauts can hear the surrounding atmosphere rumbling.
“When the spacecraft tries to control the flight, you feel a little bit of a body shake,” Benken says, “so we feel these slight tumbling, pitching, and deflections.” “
The spacecraft then continues to fire the thruster further into the atmosphere. Benken says he recorded some of the sound audio on the return journey, which gets bigger as they drop.
“It doesn’t sound like a machine (falling), it’s an animal.” He said. It was the first time in two months that he felt the gravity of the Earth when he felt the capsule heating up. He says he feels like he’s in a centrifuge.
The capsule splashed with the help of a parachute.
This powerful force limits their ability to move, preventing them from stretching their necks to see the view out of the window. If they could, they might be able to see the hot layer of plasma encased in the capsule. “It’s a really thin layer with a slightly peachy color.” Hurley recalls what he saw when he was on the space shuttle.
Then the parachute opened. Benken said it made them feel a “very serious” bump. A few minutes later, the capsule landed at sea.
“We felt the capsule splashing down and saw the splash from the window, ” Benken said. ” (Author/Yu Yu)